Gracing The Stage http://www.gracingthestage.ca Stage and Screen in Toronto Sat, 14 Aug 2010 06:14:54 +0000 http://wordpress.org/?v=2.9.2 en hourly 1 Update: Torontoist, and Fringe 2010! http://www.gracingthestage.ca/?p=4435 http://www.gracingthestage.ca/?p=4435#comments Sat, 10 Jul 2010 19:19:56 +0000 Steve http://www.gracingthestage.ca/?p=4435 Hi there, GTS readers! It’s been a while. I really should have posted something like this back in May, but for those of you wondering why this site fell silent: it’s because someone’s started paying me to do what I’ve been doing gratis for so long.

Since May, I’ve been contributing to Torontoist.com as an Urban Planner. Several days a week, I write the daily selected events post for the site. I started out with Mondays and Tuesdays, and switched to Mondays and Fridays as of June. I’m not going to get rich as a Torontoist contributor, but it’s my low paying dream job (sort of like this Simpson’s episode); I get to write about my favourite performers, companies, and events in the city that I love!

My staff picture for Torontoist, courtesy of Shannon Gerard.

Since I’d be duplicating much of the work I do for Torontoist for my weekly GTS updates, I’ve discontinued them. I’m sure many of you were aware just how much of an enormous workload writing the updates were; they’d typically take anywhere from 16-24 hours a week. Now, I’m part of a crack team of UP writers (it’s a really great feeling to be part of a team, and to have a shared workload), and it doesn’t make sense to continue to write the updates for GTS when someone’s willing to pay me to do essentially the same thing, for a readership ten times larger (GTS’s best two month last year garnered in excess of 100,000 hits, but Torontoist passed 1,000,000 hits last month).

This has left me at a bit of a loss as to what to do with Gracing the Stage. I definitely want to continue to produce content for the site and keep it active (more active than the less two months), but darned if Torontoist hasn’t willingly accepted (and paid for) anything I’ve been of a mind (and had the time) to write about. Since I started contributing non-Urban Planner posts, I’ve written articles about sketch troupe Sunday Night Live and bands like The Balconies and Whale Tooth; video reviews for Hooded Fang and Maylee Todd; covered the Polaris Prize; and even written about police horses, in the lead-up to the G20 summit coverage (which Torontoist, by many accounts, did the best job of ANY media outlet covering – the site registered over a quarter of a million hits over that weekend). So I’ve been very busy over there (you can read all of the articles I’ve contributed to date by clicking on my staff profile).

My plans for this site include setting up and integrating a Twitter account for Gracing the Stage (something I’ve kept putting off and off), and to start using it as more of a personal blog. I’ll be posting arts-related links, short items, and video content, while endeavoring to keep it mainly Toronto-centric (but not exclusively so). Basically, I mean to channel much of the energy I usually put into Facebook (which is a bit of a waste, since I’m very snobby about FB, only accepting friend requests from people I’ve met and chatted at length with on multiple occasions) into Gracing the Stage, so I won’t be upping my work load; just re-directing it more productively, and making it more accessible.

I hope to have this revamp up and running in time for Summerworks (so, the start of August). I’ve been very busy the past few weeks covering The Toronto Fringe Festival, primarily for Torontoist; I contributed more than half of the reviews for the site’s Guide to the Fringe.

I do plan on posting capsule reviews of all the Fringe shows I’ve seen (I’m currently at 3 dozen seen, with two days left in the fest), so there will be a special Fringe post going up this weekend, that will be updated as I produce previews. Like last year, I’ve not budgeted enough time over the festival to write reviews, only having written 15 to date (9 of the best were used in the Torontoist guide). Unlike last year, however, I’ve kept pretty good notes, so I’m more confident I’ll get them all up within a week after the Fringe. Not especially useful to anyone hoping to have used quotes to promote their Fringe run, but maybe so for shows continuing on the Fringe circuit, or for companies or performers who might want to use what I write for future promotional purposes.

So, a lot of news. If anyone has any feedback about what I should do with the site to make it more useful and efficient, I’m all ears. In the meantime, I strongly suggest you sign up for Torontoist’s Torontolist mailing list, which will deliver daily updates to your email inbox, containing contests, brief news items, and the day’s Urban Planner (which means several a week are written primarily by yours truly). I don’t plan on using my own mailing list for anything other than important updates about the site, so if you want to read about what’s hip and happening in Toronto, you’ll have to follow me over to Torontoist.

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Weekly Update 296 (Apr. 23rd – Apr. 30th, 2010) http://www.gracingthestage.ca/?p=4345 http://www.gracingthestage.ca/?p=4345#comments Sat, 24 Apr 2010 20:14:22 +0000 Steve http://www.gracingthestage.ca/?p=4345 IN FILM,

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The creators of "Gravy Train", Tim Doiron & April Mullen, pose on the red carpet at the premiere of their movie in Toronto.

The creators of “Rock Paper Scissors: The Way of the Tosser”, Tim Doiron & April Mullen, are back with a cop comedy entitled “Gravy Train” (you can check out the trailer here). Based on the popularity of their first film, they were able to land quite a few celebrities for their 2nd feature, including Tim Meadows, Colin Mochrie, and Jennifer Dale. The movie gets a red carpet premiere this Friday night at the AMC Yonge and Dundas, followed by a Q & A (which the filmmaking pair will do for most evening screenings this week – they’ve posted a schedule here). If you want to see it cheaply (sans Q & A), remember that the AMC has half price matinee tickets for screenings before noon on weekends…

In advance of the Hot Docs festival (which starts next Saturday), there’s a screening of one of the most popular recent Canadian documentaries on Tuesday at the Revue Cinema. Peter Lynch will be taking questions after the screening of his doc “Project Grizzly“, about Troy Hurtubise, a man obsessed with building a bear-proof protection suit, to the point of throwing himself off of cliffs, and having people drive cars into him to test it. The film will also be screening with Lynch’s short “Nails“.

Still in cinemas, I’ve seen “Kick Ass” twice now, and will probably go a third time; it’s funny, profane, violent, and the most enjoyable treatment you’re ever likely to see of just how ridiculous it would be for someone to dress up as a superhero and fight crime. I’m also going to try to make time to see “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo“, which is still getting great word of mouth.

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Veteran local rockers Run With The Kittens, who have a penchant for the absurd, have enlisted an unorthodox representative to help publicize their upcoming CD release next Friday at the Great Hall.
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Theatre, Comedy, Music, more vids and pics, and the weekly calendar picks, are just one “Read more” click away…

"If We Were Birds": Tereus (Geoffrey Pounsett) is given Procne's (Phillippa Domville) hand in marriage by her father, the king of Athens (David Fox), while Procne's sister Philomena (Tara Rosling) looks anxiously on. Philomena is right to be concerned; first, Tereus will take her sister away; then, when he comes to take Philomena to visit her sister, his unwelcome attention will fall on her. Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann.

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IN THEATRE & DANCE,

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The Room's "Red Machine" series gets a workshop this weekend at Harbourfront Centre as part of the HATCH series.

There’s two shows of note running this weekend only. The HATCH series down at Harbourfront plays host to The Room’s latest iteration of their functions of the brain inspired series, “Red Machine: Under the Knife“, Saturday night and Sunday afternoon down by the waterfront. Also Saturday night (and Friday), there’s a special presentation of a new work by “The Vagina Monologues” playwright Eve Ensler, entitled “The Good Body” (being performed with special permission in Toronto only), with a cast of a dozen plus female actors from around Toronto, at the Annex Theatre.

In festivals, The Banana Festival, a collection of new sci-fi inspired one act plays, wraps up this Saturday night with both a 8pm early show and 10:30 show at the Imperial Pub (which actually has a decent sized performance space in the back room, similar to The Rivoli). Continuing festivals include The Crosscurrent Festival at Factory Theatre, which features staged readings and interviews with Daniel MacIvor, Anusree Roy, and more; The Buzz Festival at Theatre Passe Muraille, which will feature new work all week from Puppetmongers Theatre and Why Not Theatre, playwrights Natasha Greenblatt, Noa May Dorn, and more;  and The AMY Project, which runs next weekend at Factory, showcasing work done by young women in collaboration with theatrical mentors like Tara Beagan, Rosa Laborde, and Hannah Moscovitch.

Opening shows this week include the return of Soulpepper’s production of David Mamet’s “Glengarry Glen Ross“, and a new dance work at the Winchester Theatre from the Love You Long Time Collective. There’s also a trio of continuing shows, all excellent plays written by local authors, including new work from Erin Shields (“If We Were Birds” at Tarragon Theatre) and Daniel MacIvor (“This Is What Happens Next” at Canstage Berkeley Theatre), and a remount at Bread and Circus of Claudia Dey’s off kilter comedy “Trout Stanley“.

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IN COMEDY,

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The National Theatre of the World is partnering with the cast of “Crocsomia” late Friday night at Theatre Passe Muraille for something unexpected, before the UK based company packs up and leaves town (their show closes Saturday night). The N T of the W is also participating Sunday evening in “April Fools: A Comedy Cabaret“, joining a large and eclectic bill of fire performers, aerialists, burlesque dancers, and more.

Levi MacDougall, somewhat hairier than normal for his gig on "Important Things with Demetri Martin", guests (with fellow "Important Things" writer and castmate Nathan Fielder) on Laugh Sabbath's "Hour of Power" this Sunday.

Saturday night, Comedy Bar has a trio of intriguing shows; the final regular “Monkey Toast” before the improvised talk show’s finale next Saturday; “Gleeks“, a improvised musical tribute to the popular TV show (while advance tickets are apparently sold out, there will be some at the door for early birds – say, those who attend “Monkey Toast”?); and “NSFW“, a showcase of internet WTF clips curated by Jared Sales and Tal Zimmerman. A long running show at the Rivoli, this will be “NSFW”’s Comedy Bar debut; the show has a tradition of interesting guests popping up (like Jerry O’Connell).

Sunday night, Levi Macdougall and Nathan Fielder, previously Toronto-based comics who’ve made good in LA as writers and cast members on the hit Comedy Central show “Important Things With Demetri Martin”, return to the Rivoli for Laugh Sabbath’s “Talent Show“, a show both used to perform on regularly.

Monday, Comedy Bar is giving the stage up to a patron, Winnifred Brown, who’s shown no hesitation in the past at jumping up and participating in shows. The show, featuring comics like Matt Folliott and Gary Rideout Jr. who’ve enjoyed Winnie’s impromptu participation in the past, will be a fundraiser for care packages for Jamaica, with a 50/50 draw; they ask that you bring books and clothes for donation. Also that night, there’s an edition of “Pirate Video Cabaret” at Clinton’s, with curated comic-created videos mixing with live sets from comics such as Alana Johnston, Nile Seguin, and “NSFW” host Jared Sales.

Later in the week, Approximately 3 Peter’s hosts an evening of sketch on Thursday at Comedy Bar, including the return of Deadpan Powerpoint, a duo that wowed audiences with their dry multimedia humour at Toronto Sketchfest back in the fall.

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Vancouver-based singer-songwriter Hannah Georgas opens for An Horse Monday night at The Garrison, and also has an in-store show of her own, Tuesday evening at Criminal Records.

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IN MUSIC,

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MJ Cyr opens for Guelph's Canyon City at the Boat this Wednesday.

Jon Spencer’s OTHER band, Heavy Trash, play Friday night at Lee’s, then an in-store at Sonic Boom on Saturday afternoon. Saturday night, the Garrison has probably the strongest bill of the week, with two hot, capitalized bands (OPOPO and PARLOVR) opening for Montreal’s We Are Wolves.

Sunday evening’s pick is much quieter, comparatively; The Weather Station will anchor a night of acoustic music in the Tranzac Club’s Southern Cross Lounge, with headliner Lisa Conway, and the debut of a spoken word project from Entire Cities‘ Simon Borer, entitled Traplines.

Monday evening, acoustic super group Daniel (Attack in Black), Fred (Shotgun & Jaybird), and Julie (Doiron) play an in-store at Soundscapes. Vancouver’s Hannah Georges, in the opening slot for Aussies An Horse Monday night at The Garrison, has an in-store herself on Tuesday at Criminal Records.

Kathleen Edwards is prepping to release a new album this spring/summer, and is trying out her new tunes this Tuesday at the Drake Hotel Underground, as part of a three week residency.

Wednesday, San Diego’s The Album Leaf play Lee’s; there’s also a show at the Boat by Guelph’s Canyon City, who’re charging much less at the door (less gas money to pay for).

Friday, there’s an early all ages bill at the Kapisanan Cultural Centre, headlined by Donlands and Mortimer, and produced by Daps Duo, as part of their all ages showcase series. Later in the night, local mainstays Run With the Kittens have their latest CD release; while they aren’t playing their favourite haunt The Cameron House, you CAN pick up advance tickets behind the bar there for their show at the Great Hall.

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Peter Lynch’s already classic documentary “Project: Grizzly” screens Tuesday evening at the Revue Cinema; Lynch will be on hand after the film for a Q & A.

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Steve’s Weekly Picks for Apr. 23rd – Apr. 30th, 2010:

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Limber burlesque performer Cherry Temple joins mentalist Mysterion the Mind Reader, rapper Wordburglar, improv troupe The National Theatre of the World, and many more exotic acts at this Sunday's "April Fools: A Comedy Cabaret".

FRIDAY Apr. 23rd: If We Were Birds“, w/ Tara Rosling, Geoffrey Pounsett, Phillipa Domville, more, @ Tarragon Theatre, 8pm, $33-39 ($10 rush tix avail. @ 6pm – line up early) /      Yukon Blonde, w/ Sports: The Band, Fox Jaws, @ The Garrison, 9pm, $8     /     “The National Theatre of the World and Little Bulb Theatre Collude!” , w/ Shamira Turner, Ron Pederson, Clare Beresford, more, @ Theatre Passe Muraille, 9pm, PWYC      /      Heavy Trash(11:45pm), w/ CATL (10:45pm), The Weirdies (9:45pm), @ The Horseshoe Tavern, $12.50

SATURDAY Apr. 24th Aft.: Heavy Trash in-store performance, @ Sonic Boom(downstairs), 2pm, FREE (bring a food donation)      / Giiwedin: a First Nation’s Opera“ closing day, w/ Ryan Allen, Nicole Joy-Fraser, Jesse Clark, more, @ Theatre Passe Muraille, 2:30pm, PWYC      /      “Kick Ass”, @ Rainbow Market Square Cinemas, 4pm (also 1pm), $6

SATURDAY Apr. 24th Eve:Gravy Train“, w/ post screening Q & A with dir. / writers April Mullen & Tim Doiron, @ AMC Yonge & Dundas, 7pm (& 10pm), $12 – $13      /     “Eve Underground“, w/ Emma MacKenzie Hillier, George Root, Alex Dallas, more, @ The Annex Theatre (730 Bathurst St.), 8pm, $18 – $23       /      We Are Wolves, w/ PARLOVR, OPOPO, @ The Garrison, 9:30pm, $12     / Banana Festival” closing night, w/ Tim Nussey, Merritt Crews, Jason Robinson, musical guest Chelsea Manders, more, @ The Imperial Pub (54 Dundas St. E.), 10:30pm (also 8pm early show), $10      /NSFW“, w/ hosts Tal Zimmerman & Jared Sales, special guests, more, @ Comedy Bar, 12am, FREE

SUNDAY Apr. 25th Aft.: Gravy Train“, @ AMC Yonge & Dundas Square, 10:45am, $6      /      Crosscurrents Festival: “Throat“, w/ Audrey Dyer, Noah Reid, Sharon Lewis, more, @ Factory Theatre, 2pm, FREE     / HATCH Series: “Red Machine: Under the Knife“, w/ Christopher Stanton, Paula Jean Prudat, James Cade, more, @ The Harbourfront Centre Studio Theatre (235 Queens Quay W.), 4pm, $12

SUNDAY Apr. 25th Eve: Crosscurrents Festival: Daniel MacIvor’s “Bingo ” reading, w/ pre-show Q & A w/ MacIvor, Anusree Roy, Bruce Barton, host Aynsley Moorhouse, more, @  Factory Theatre, symposium @ 6pm, reading @ 8pm, PWYC      / April Fools: A Comedy Cabaret“, w/ The National Theatre of the World, Mysterion the Mind Reader, Cherry Temple, musical guest Wordburglar, host The Canadian Wolfman, more, @ Revival Bar (783 College St.), 8pm, $20      / Laugh Sabbath Presents… The Hour of Power!”, w/ Levi Macdougall, Bull Hooey, Nathan Fielder, host Sara Hennessey, more, @ The Rivoli, 9pm, $5     /     Lisa Conway, w/ The Weather Station, Arkana Music, Traplines, more, @ The Tranzac Club (Southern Cross Lounge, 292 Brunswick Ave.), 10pm, PWYC

MONDAY Apr. 26th: Daniel, Fred, & Julie (Doiron) in-store performance, @ Soundscapes, 7:30pm, FREE      / This Is What Happens Next“, w/ Daniel MacIvor, @ Canstage Berkeley St. Theatre, 8pm, $20-$35 (limited PWYC rush tix) /       “One Love, One Show – For the Love of Winnie!“, w/ Matt Folliot, Carly Heffernan, Gary Rideout Jr., host Winnifred Brown, more, @ Comedy Bar, 8pm, PWYC (please bring clothes and books for donation)      /      “Pirate Video Cabaret“, w/ Rhiannon Archer, Nile Seguin, Alana Johnston, host Simon Fraser, more, @ Clinton’s, 8:30pm, $5       /      An Horse, w/ Hannah Georgas, @ The Garrison, 9:30pm, $10

Kathleen Edwards plays her second of three weekly residency nights at the Drake Hotel Underground this Tuesday, previewing songs from her upcoming new album.

TUESDAY Apr. 27th: Hannah Georgas in-store performance, @ Criminal Records (493 Queen St. W.), 6pm, FREE      /       “Project Grizzly“, w/ post screening Q & A with director Peter Lynch, @ The Revue Cinema, 7pm, $8 – $10     /      A Night with Kathleen Edwards, @ The Drake Hotel Underground, 8:30pm, $20      /      White Rabbits (10:15pm), w/ The Rival Boys (9pm),  @ Lee’s Palace, $14.50 /      “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, @ Scotiabank Theatre Cinemas, 10:20pm (also 6:50pm), $6.47

WEDNESDAY Apr. 28th:Buzz Festival: Night 2“, w/ Puppetmongers Theatre, Noa May Dorn, Ravi Jain, musical guest Treassa Levasseur, more, @ Theatre Passe Muraille, 7:30pm, FREE       / Almost, Maine” preview night, w/ Kate Spurgeon, Brian Bisson, Shanda Bezic, more, @ Tarragon Theatre, 8pm, $21      / Canyon City, w/ MJ Cyr, @ The Boat (158 Augusta Ave.), 9pm, $5 /      The Album Leaf (10:15pm), w/ Seawolf (9pm), @ Lee’s Palace, $12.50

THURSDAY Apr. 29th: Trout Stanley“, w/ Jessica Huras, Katie Lawson, & Derek Moran, @ Bread and Circus, 7:30pm, $15 – $18      / Pet3rs Present… Your Parent’s Basement #5“, w/ Deadpan Powerpoint, The Chesterfields, Approximately 3 Peters, @ Comedy Bar, 8pm, $5      /      “No Guarantees, No Refunds“, w/ Tanya Crowder, Jolene Devoe, Allison Peacock, more, @ Winchester St. Theatre, 8pm, $14 – $18

FRIDAY Apr. 30th: Donlands & Mortimer (9:45pm), w/ Wax Manniquin (9pm), Blue Hawaii (8pm), Tonka & Puma (7:30pm), more, @ Kapisanan Cultural Centre (167 Augusta Ave.), 7pm, $8 (ALL AGES)      / The AMY Project Presents… Step Right Up!“, w/ Andrea Carter, Keian Johnson, Abhi Yogasergaran, more, @ Theatre Passe Muraille, 8pm, PWYC      /      Run With The Kittens CD Release, w/ Friendly Rich, BA Johnston, more, @ The Great Hall (1087 Queen St. W.), 8:30pm, $10

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Donlands and Mortimer headline an early all ages show next Friday evening at the Kapisanan Cultural Centre, organized by Daps Duo (AKA Tonka & Puma, who open the evening). This Southern Souls video has them performing in a loading bay at a self storage facility; I’m pretty sure I’ve helped a friend move furniture out of there before!

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Fine Print:

- All prices listed are advance ticket prices (where applicable). With many of these shows, especially music and theatre, if you show up at the door, you run the risk of being turned away due to a sell out.

- All times are start times, NOT door times. If you show up after the posted time, the show will likely already be underway.

- I typically cap the listed performers at three mentioned per show. The bill of bands / acts / performers is often much larger (particularly for comedy and theatre).

- Theatre and Comedy events are ALL AGES, unless otherwise noted. Music events are 19+, unless otherwise noted (FREE in-store and outdoor performances are ALL AGES, due to the lack of alcohol service).

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Weekly Update 295 (Apr. 16th – Apr. 23rd, 2010) http://www.gracingthestage.ca/?p=4239 http://www.gracingthestage.ca/?p=4239#comments Sun, 18 Apr 2010 08:51:47 +0000 Steve http://www.gracingthestage.ca/?p=4239 -

IN COMEDY,

Comedically and musically inclined ladies Katie Crown and Kathleen Phillips debut a new one act "amusical", "Our Lives Work!", this Saturday night at Bread and Circus.

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Norm Souza and Cole Osborne (AKA Punch Drysdale), plus a few other similarly strong livered performing friends, will get absolutely blotto Friday night on the Comedy Bar stage, for your amusement, in “Punch Drysdale Drinks a 24“.

Amusement is the name of the game on Saturday night at Bread and Circus as well, where Kathleen Phillips and Katie Crown’s will premiere their new one act “amusical”, “Our Lives Work!“. Also on their bill is Poppa Proppa, Toronto’s oldest prop comic, and musical guest People of Canada, who will be strumming the ukele (Alex will also be playing with a full band Monday night at Elvis Monday – more details in the Music section).

Sunday, there’ll be a reading of “Two Gentlemen of Lebowski“, the hit mash-up script combining “The Dude” with “The Bard”, to fundraise for two upcoming shows from Nobody’s Business Theatre. This is the closest Toronto has come to a staging of the internet phenomenon (I’d heard a production was in the planning stages, but legal issues have sidelined those plans). You also get comedy from Frenzy, and quite a few guys and gals taking most of their clothes off.

Also Sunday, Scott Freethy celebrates his “Scott and the City” 6 month anniversary with a night of musical tribute to the TV show “Glee”, and veteran improviser David Shore performs his final “One Man Harold” show before decamping to the UK.

Monday, there’s an edition of “The Dime Store Novels“, a adult storytelling night closely modeled on the popular US series “The Moth”; and Wednesday, PROJECTProject and The Polecats both come out of hiatus (the PROPro cats have been busy on their Combustion Festival) to pay tribute to PROPro member Sarah Hillier on her birthday.

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Haligonian musicmaker Rich Aucoin, who blew many (including myself) away with several spirited performances during CMF back in March, headlines this Tuesday’s NO SHAME music showcase at Sneaky Dee’s.

Film, Music,  Theatre, more vids and pics, and the weekly calendar picks, are just one “Read more” click away…

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IN FILM,

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Above is a trailer for “Kick-Ass” – a NSFW red band trailer, mind you, that shows Chloe Moretz (“Hit Girl”) doing all the things that has parents groups in a tizzy; her character is a 11 year old cussin’ and killin’ little dynamo. I for one am excited indeed to see the film; by all accounts, it plays hard and loose with the more ridiculous conceits of costumed heroes in popular culture, and the action sequences have internet film geeks exploding with enthusiasm.

Also garnering a lot of interest is the first adaptation from Swedish author Stieg Larsson’s Millennium series, of “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo“. Lead actress Naomi Rapace is earning serious shout-outs for her portrayal of a caustic and short fused computer hacker, who teams with an investigative journalist to uncover a long buried family secret.

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IN MUSIC,

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The Meligrove Band join Canuck rock legends Sloan and Buck 65 to celebrate International Record Store Day this Sunday, at Sonic Boom, which will have free in-store performances from 3pm-9pm. Photo by Mat Dunlap.

Julie (Doiron),Fred (Squire), and Daniel (Romanow) are touring and playing together, landing this Friday night at the Horseshoe Tavern.

Saturday is International Record Store Day, and while many of the local stores have sales (like Soundscapes) or a couple of bands playing (like Criminal Records, who have Tallest Man on Earth at 7pm), Sonic Boom takes the cake for biggest splash-out: they’ve got Sloan, Metz, Valery Gore, and more, from 3pm until it’s late enough that other good shows (Like the Amos the Transparent / The Junction gig at Lee’s) at clubs and live venues will be getting underway.

At the beginning of next week, Elvis Monday is featuring a full band performance from The Whole Entire Universe, as well as other musical goodies (plus the Drake’s cheap beer special, and usually quickly gobbled up free buffet); also, Kathleen Edwards is playing in the Drake Underground the following night.

On Tuesday, the Hot Chip / The xx show is sold out, and besides, I think you should go with NO SHAME instead; Rich Aucoin is better live than The xx (watch the video of him at the top of the post).

On Wednesday, Dan Mangan’s holding court at the Horseshoe Tavern; Thursday, HeartCore opens for The Dress Whites @ The Piston; and next Friday, it’s a tough call between headlining sets from Heavy Trash and Yukon Blonde.

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IN THEATRE & DANCE,

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Writer/performer Daniel MacIvor's "This is What Happens Next" is his first collaboration with writer/director Daniel Brooks in 6 years, and it's currently running at the Berkeley St. Theatre. Photo by Guntar Kravis.

Factory Theatre’s Performance Spring Festival continues throughout the month, though some shows, including “Where the Blood Lies” ” close this weekend. Also, this weekend is the opening and closing of Birdtown & Smallville’s “The Physical Ramifications of Attempted Global Domination“, like many of the Harbourfront Centre HATCH shows before it, it’s a new piece from a exciting young company, the only drawback being that it only gets two performances.

Still running, at least until next weekend, are the Native opera “Giiwedin” and the surreal comedy “Crocosmia” (all the way from the UK).  New shows include heavy hitter Daniel MacIvor’s new one act play, “This Is What Happens Next“, which was developed once again with frequent collaborator Daniel Brooks (though it HAS been almost 7 years since their last collaborative work), and is up and running at Canadian Stage’s Berkeley St. Theatre. Also presenting new material is The Banana Festival, an indie downtown theatre fest that  promises 4 new one acts in an evening, all based around geek chic, save for deceptively sincere musical guest Chelsea Manders.

Opening is a new run at Bread and Circus of Claudia Dey’s wickedly funny play “Trout Stanley“,  and Summerworks hit “If We Were Birds” previews this week at Tarragon. I’m hoping it’ll be seen by loads of new audiences; it’s a deeply moving work inspired by war crimes against women in Serbia, Rawanda, and other recent war torn regions, set in ancient Greece.

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Birdtown and Swanville’s newest show, “The Physical Ramifications of Global Domination“, gets two workshop performances this weekend as part of Harbourfront Centre’s HATCH series, Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon, at The Harbourfront Centre’s Studio Theatre.

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Steve’s Weekly Picks for Apr. 16th – Apr. 23rd, 2010:

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Punch Drysdale will suffer for their art late Friday night when they crack open and consume a 24 on stage at Comedy Bar, and make a show at the same time.

FRIDAY Apr. 16th: Catch 23 Improv“, w/ Rob Norman, Kurt Smeaton, Peter Stevens, host Craig Brown, more, @ Comedy Bar, 8pm, $8     /     Performance Spring Festival: “Where the Blood Mixes“, w/ Ben Cardinal, Kim Harvey, Tom McBeath, more, @ Factory Theatre, 8pm, $25-$35 (limited $10 rush tix)     /     Daniel (Attack in Black), Fred (Shotgun & Jaybird), & Julie (Doiron), w/ Baby Eagle, @ The Horseshoe Tavern, 9:30pm, $12      /      “Punch Drysdale Drinks a 24“, w/ Andy Hull, Brendan Halloran, Mark Andrada, musical guest Sean Pinchin, @ Comedy Bar, 10:30pm, FREE (w/ C23 ticket)

SATURDAY Apr. 17th Aft.: Crocosmia“, w/ Dominc Conway, Shamira Turner, and Clare Beresford, @ Theatre Passe Muraille, 2:30pm, PWYC       /       Record Store Day: Sloan, Buck 65, Valery Gore, more, @ Sonic Boom (Downstairs), 3pm – 8pm, FREE (get there MUCH earlier, obvs)

SATURDAY Apr. 17th Eve: Our Lives Work!“, w/ Katie Crown & Kathleen Phillips, host Poppa Proppa, musical guest People of Canada, more, @ Bread and Circus, 8pm, $10     /     “Banana Festival” w/ Tim Nussey, Merritt Crews, Jason Robinson, musical guest Chelsea Manders, more, @ The Imperial Pub (54 Dundas St. E.), 10:30pm (also 8pm early show), $10      /      The Junction (12am), w/ Amos the Transparent (11pm), The Darcys (10pm), @ Lee’s Palace, $10

SUNDAY Apr. 18th Aft.: The Physical Ramifications of Attempted Global Domination“, w/ Aurora Stewart De Pena, Nicole Stamp, Liz Peterson, host Chris Locke, more, @ Harbourfront Centre Studio Theatre (235 Queens Quay W.), 2:30pm, $10-$12      /     “Kick-Ass”, @ Rainbow Market Square, 4pm (also 1pm), $6

SUNDAY Apr. 18th Eve: Party Like Nobody’s Business IV: The Dude Abideth“, w/ Frenzy, Ryan G. Hinds, Nobody’s Business Theatre (reading “Two Gentleman of Lebowski”), more, @ The Garrison, 8pm, $6 (if you’ve RSVP’d to the FB event)      /     “One Man Harold”, w/ David Shore, @ Bad Dog Theatrem 8pm, $10     /     “Scott and the City Six Month Anniversary (the GLEE Show)”, w/ Sara Farb, Jordan Bell, Tessa Alves, host Scott Freethy, more, @ Bread and Circus, 9pm, $12

Quick-witted improv pixie Sarah Hillier will be feted by Alex Tindal and the rest of the PROJECTProject gang, as well as The Polecats, this Wednesday at Unit 102.

MONDAY Apr. 19th: White Hinterland in-store, @ Soundscapes, 6pm, FREE      /       “The Dime Store Novels Digs Deeper“, w/  hosts Kayla Lorette & Bob Kerr, @ Comedy Bar, 8pm, $5     /     “This Is What Happens Next“, w/ Danile MacIvor, @ Canstage Berkeley St. Theatre, 8pm, $20-$35 (limited PWYC rush tix)      /     Elvis Monday, w/ The Lovely Killbots, The Whole Entire Universe, The Wild Core, more, @ The Drake Hotel Underground, 9:30pm, FREE

TUESDAY Apr. 20th:  A Night with Kathleen Edwards, @ The Drake Hotel Underground, 8:30pm, $20      /      No Shame: Rich Aucoin, Bent Buy Elephants, Lisa Bozikcovic, @ Sneaky Dee’s, 9pm, $5      /      “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, @ Scotiabank Theatre Cinemas, 10:20pm (also 6:50pm), $6.47      /     Bookie’s Nu Music night, w/ Plants and Animals (10:40pm), The Barr Brothers (9:50pm), Mike O’Brien (9pm),  @ The Horseshoe, Tavern, 9pm, FREE

WEDNESDAY Apr. 21st: Trout Stanley” preview night, w/ Jessica Huras, Katie Lawson, & Derek Moran, @ Bread and Circus, 7:30pm, $12      /     “PROJECTProject celebrates Sarah Hillier!“, w/ Julie Dumais, The Polecats, Alex Tindal, host Sarah Hillier, more, @ Unit 102 (46 Noble St.), 9pm, $5 (BYOB)

THURSDAY Apr. 22nd: Giiwedin: a First Nation’s Opera“, w/ Ryan Allen, Nicole Joy-Fraser, Jesse Clark, more, @ Theatre Passe Muraille, 8pm, PWYC /     Dan Mangan (10:45pm), w/ Aiden Knight (9:30pm), @ The Horseshoe Tavern, $12      /     WreckingBall presents… The Dress Whites, w/ HeartCore, WhosArmy, @ The Piston (937 Bloor St. W.), 9pm, $5 (w/ canned food donation)

FRIDAY Apr. 23rd: If We Were Birds”, w/ Tara Rosling, Geoffrey Pounsett, Phillipa Domville, more, @ Tarragon Theatre, 8pm, $33-39 ($10 rush tix avail. @ 6pm – line up early) /      Yukon Blonde, w/ Sports: The Band, Fox Jaws, @ The Garrison, 9pm, $8     /     “The National Theatre of the World and Little Bulb Theatre Collude!” , w/ Shamira Turner, Ron Pederson, Clare Beresford, more, @ Theatre Passe Muraille, 9pm, PWYC      /         Heavy Trash(11:45pm), w/ CATL (10:45pm), The Weirdies (9:45pm), @ The Horseshoe Tavern, $12.50

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Kelowna’s Yukon Blonde blow into town next Friday to play on a bill at the Garrison, with local openers Sports: The Band, and Fox Jaws.

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Fine Print:

- All prices listed are advance ticket prices (where applicable). With many of these shows, especially music and theatre, if you show up at the door, you run the risk of being turned away due to a sell out.

- All times are start times, NOT door times. If you show up after the posted time, the show will likely already be underway.

- I typically cap the listed performers at three mentioned per show. The bill of bands / acts / performers is often much larger (particularly for comedy and theatre).

- Theatre and Comedy events are ALL AGES, unless otherwise noted. Music events are 19+, unless otherwise noted (FREE in-store and outdoor performances are ALL AGES, due to the lack of alcohol service).

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Weekly Update 294 (Apr. 2nd – Apr. 9th, 2010) http://www.gracingthestage.ca/?p=4197 http://www.gracingthestage.ca/?p=4197#comments Sat, 03 Apr 2010 15:18:45 +0000 Steve http://www.gracingthestage.ca/?p=4197 No pressing business this week; just a reminder to email me at steveATgracingthestage.ca if you want to receive this weekly update in your inbox.

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IN MUSIC,

Is there anything the legendary Bob Wiseman CAN'T do? He's making his improv comedy debut on "Catch 23 Improv" this Friday, and tells musical stories on Wednesday at this month's "Murder Folk Night".

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As with last week, there’s a lot of touring bands (both Canadian and otherwise) passing through T.O., ranging from San Francisco’s Girls (who were in the top 5 of my Best Albums of 2009 post), with terrific openers Dum Dum Girls, whose biker-chick-goes-to-prison video is embedded at the bottom of this post; The xx, who are being impossibly hyped as the “next big thing” for their minimalist beats, and who’ll DJ their own afterparty at the Garrison Sunday night (it’s free if you’re a Facebook fan of Aux.tv); and Fanfarlo, a UK band who are getting a lot of  comparisons to The Arcade Fire (they play next Friday at Lee’s Palace).

Speaking of the Arcade Fire, one of their satellite members, the charming Owen Pallett (who’s dropped his potentially lawsuit-incurring moniker Final Fantasy) plays an all ages show at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on Thursday. Other Canadian acts hitting Toronto stages this week include Vancouver’s Japandroids (whose openers Love Is All and locals Two Koreas make their show one of my most recommended of the week), and Montreal bands Wolf Parade (Wednesday @ the Phoenix) and Land of Talk (Thursday at Lee’s Palace).

There’s also a really good selection of local showcases this week. Multi-faceted performer Maylee Todd’s playing three of them; a launch party for Filipino cultural centre Kapisanan in Kensington Market on Saturday, s the musical guest on variety show Carnegie Hall Wednesday at Bread and Circus, and a CD release party with almost a dozen local acts on Thursday at Tattoo Rock Parlour. Other shows of note include a special Easter edition of Keith Hamiton’s Gather Round acoustic night at the Boat, and a special extra literary edition of the monthly Murder Folk night (in collaboration with the Pivot Reading Series).

But the biggest music news this week is probably the return of Wavelength Music Art Projects. The first official Wavelength event since the finish of their weekly Sunday night showcases is a collaboration with The Images Festival, and the innovative Polydactyl Arts Collective, who were responsible for the dystopian bike opera “Le Cyc”. Saturday night at the Workman Arts building, the collective will be providing live musical accompaniment to stop motion film projections exploring such diverse subjects as biological mutation, and how language requires transitions to be interpreted, similar to data processing.

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Pixie songstress / aerobicizer Maylee Todd plays the re-opening of the Kapisanan Filipino cultural centre this weekend, is the musical guest on Carnegie Hall on Wednesday at Bread and Circus, and plays clothing company G-SUS’s compilation CD launch on Thursday at Tattoo Rock Parlour.

Comedy, Film, Theatre, more vids and pics, and the weekly calendar picks, are just one “Read more” click away…

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IN COMEDY,

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Old time vaudeville duo Parker and Seville bring the third installment of their ongoing show to Comedy Bar this weekend, with special guests James Hartnett, Sara Hennessey, and more.

Catch 23 Improv has some  unusual guest competitors, including two musicians: oddball comic David Dineen Porter (AKA 8-bit hero PDF Format), and Bob Wiseman, who last week honed his comic chops hosting a cabaret with current C23 champ Becky Johnson. Later in the night, the competitive theme will continue with “Rap Battlez“, as comics will go head to head improvising rhymes in freestyle competition.

Monday night, also at Comedy Bar, throwback hacks Parker and Seville will perform a new “episode” of their ongoing revue, with guests like Adam Christie and last week’s cover gal Sara Hennessey. Ms. Hennessey has another very busy week ahead of her; she’s also hosting Sunday Night Live, and on Thursday, will co-host with three other comics at “Comedy at the Ossington“, which features both pro comics, and the opportunity for last minute sign-up slots, if you want to try your hand at stand up.

Thursday night, veteran stand-up Nick Flanagan hosts this month’s “Joke Club“; his guests including visiting stand-up Jason Rouse, sketch troupe Dinkus, and a preview of Kathleen Phillips and Katie Crown’s upcoming one act musical, “Our Lives Work!“.

Next Friday (and this Friday, too), Bad Dog Theatre is presenting a real time improv show, “9 to 5“, which will pick as its topic a business from the Yellow Pages, then perform a “standard workday”. Many of the creative team behind the hit real-time show “About an Hour” are involved, including cast member Alex Hatz, and director Lisa Merchant.

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IN FILM,

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Harrison Ford definitely shoots first in this scene from "Raiders Of the Lost Ark"; the adventure classic screens several times over the Easter long weekend at the Bloor Cinema.

I’ve already mentioned the Images Festival in the music section, writing about Wavelength’s involvement with the Live Images #2 showcase (filmmaker Ben Rivers‘ “I Know Where I’m Going” also screens that evening, after the Polydactyl Arts Collective’s performance).

If you’re not especially interested in seeing experimental performance and film collide, there’s a couple of chances this weekend to see “Raiders of the Lost Ark“, one of the “most consummately entertaining adventure pictures of all time”, according to Rotten Tomatoes (yes, I’d agree), on the big screen at the Bloor Cinema.

The Royal Cinema is still running the concert doc “Neil Young Trunk Show“, although it’s joined this week by a new performance doc “La Danse: The Paris Opera Ballet“. The Fox Cinema is showing “Crazy Heart“, the fictional music man story that finally earned Jeff Bridges his Oscar recently, as is the Revue Cinema.

Finally, the big popcorn flick this weekend is “Clash of the Titans“. While reviews have been mixed, they all agree on one thing; do NOT see the film in 3D! It was converted after production was finished, and was not intended for the 3D format – and apparently, that fact is glaring obvious. One cinema definitely NOT showing the film in the headache-inducing format is the Rainbow Market Square, where you can see the expensive looking film for a measly $4 on Tuesday.

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IN THEATRE & DANCE,

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Fitness FAIL: unenthusiastic exerciser Brendan Gall is one of several playwrights reading from unproduced "failed" plays on Sunday evening as part of a fundraiser for theatre company The Room.

As I warned last week, this weekend is your last chance to see a LOT of plays. A partial list of shows closing this weekend: “The Overwhelming”, “The City“, “The Mill” (Parts 1, 2, AND 3), “Breakfast“, “Communion“, “I’m So Close“, and “Who Knew Grannie: A Dub Aria“. If I had to pick just one or two, I’d go with “I’m So Close” (last week’s “cover” story), or “The Mill Part 3: the Woods“, which has stirred up some controversy with the non-traditional dialogue spoken by its 17th century characters; one Eye Weekly reviewer has already incurred the wrath of many of Toronto’s top Native (and non-Native) artists with an ill-advised critique that the actors weren’t “looking and acting their ethnicities“.

New shows opening this week (or just opened) include Theatre SMASH’s premiere of “A Boy Called Newfoundland” up at Tarragon, and several shows as part of Factory Theatre’s Performance Spring series, including “Where the Blood Lies” in its Toronto premiere, and “This Time“, a dance adaptation by noted choreographer Heidi Strauss of Factory founder Ken Gass’s 40 year old one act play “Light”.

Musical offerings also multiply this week; in addition to the currently running shows “Oh What a Lovely War” (Soulpepper) and “My Mother’s Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding” (Mirvish), there’s a brief 3 day run of Jason Robert Brown’s “Songs for a New World” at Theatre Passe Muraille, then the premiere of Native Earth’s opera “Giiwedin“, also at TPM.

Lastly, a one night only performance will happen this Sunday at new nightspot the Piston (formerly The Concorde Cafe). Members of the theatre collective The Room, including David Yee, Kate Hewlett, Chris Stanton, and Brendan Gall, will read from “failed” plays as part of a fundraiser for their upcoming new installment of the “Red Machine” series.

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Playwright and director Daniel MacIvor talks about his new play in this elegant short promotional video (more theatre shows should have these, IMO). “Communion”, like more than a half dozen other plays currently running in Toronto, wraps up this weekend.
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Steve’s Weekly Picks for Apr. 2nd – Apr. 9th, 2010:

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Janet Porter, pretty in pink, is the insomniac nurse Jenny (or IS she?) in ARC's production of Martin Crimp's "The City", which closes this Saturday.

FRIDAY Apr. 2nd: The Emergency Monologues“, w/ Morgan Jones Phillips, @ The Cameron House, 8pm (& 10:30pm), $10      /      “Catch 23 Improv“, w/ Bob Wiseman, David Dineen Porter, Anand Rajaram, host Sara Hennessey, more, @ Comedy Bar, 8pm, $8 /        Julian Casablancas (10pm), w/ Funreal Party (9pm),@ Kool Haus, $25        /     “Rap Battlez 3.0“, w/ Matt Folliot, Kevin Dowse, Andy Hull, hosts Miguel & Freddie Rivas, more, @ Comedy Bar, 10:30pm, $5     /      You Say Party! We Say Die! (12am), w/ Styrofoam Ones (11pm), Makeout Video Tape (10pm), @ The Horseshoe Tavern, $12.50

SATURDAY Apr. 3rd Aft.: The Mill, Part 3: The Woods” closing day, w/ Holly Lewis, Ryan Hollyman, Michelle Latimer, more, @ The Young Centre, 2pm, $20-$30 ($15 with “LYCA 1021″ discount code)       / The City” closing day, w/ Janet Porter, Peter James Haworth, Anja Bundy, more, @ Berkeley St. Theatre, 2pm, $15-$25       /       “Raiders of the Lost Ark”, @ The Bloor Cinema, 4:15pm, $6

SATURDAY Apr. 3rd Eve: Kapisanan Centre Re-Launch Party, w/ Maylee Todd, Tonka & Puma, HALO HALO, more, @ Kapisanan Centre (167 Augusta Ave.), 7pm, $7 (FREE under 12 yrs)      /     “I’m So Close (It’s Not Even Funny)” closing night, w/ Ravi Jain, Katrina Bugaj, and  Troels Hagen Findsen, @ The Theatre Centre, 8pm, $20      /      Images Festival / Wavelength 501: Polydactyl Arts Collective, w/ “I Know Where I’m Going”, @ Workman Arts (651 Dufferin St.), 9:30pm, $8-$10      /     Japandroids (12am), w/ Love Is All (11pm), Two Koreas (10pm), @ The Horseshoe Tavern, $12

SUNDAY Apr. 4th Aft.: Communion” closing show, w/ Sarah Dodd, Caroline Gillis, Athena Lemarre, @ Tarragon Theatre, 2:30pm, $21-$39      /     “Breakfast” closing show, w/ Karin Randoja, Evalyn Parry, Anna Chatterton, @ Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, 2:30pm, PWYC

SUNDAY Apr. 4th Eve: The Anger in Ernest & Ernestine” closing show, w/ Carla Albi & Jesse Watts, @ Bread and Circus, 6pm, $10      /      “FAILure Fundraiser“, w/ Kate Hewlett, David Yee, Lindy Zucker, more, @ The Piston (937 Queen St. W.), 8pm, PWYC       /      “Gather Round: Easter Editon“, w/ Hamilton Trading Co., Girl & The Machine, Grady Mutzel, more, @ The Boat, 9pm, PWYC /      The xx Afterparty, w/ Bruce LaBruce, The xx (DJ set), more, @ The Garrison, 10pm, FREE (must join Aux.tv FB fan page for guest listing)

Hamilton bred and L.A. based shock comic Jason Rouse is in T.O. for a brief spell this week - he'll guest on Nick Flanagan's "Joke Club" this Thursday.

MONDAY Apr. 5th: “Art”, w/ Colin Mochrie, Peter Donaldson, Evan Builing, @ Canadian Stage (Bluma Appel Theatre), 8pm, PWYC     /      “Parker & Seville Ville Park Ep. 3: Climb Three Mountains“, w/ Adam Christie. Sara Hennessey, James Hartnett, more, @ Comedy Bar, 8pm, $5

TUESDAY Apr. 6th:A Boy Called Newfoundland“, w/ Martha Burns, Patrick Kwoon-Chon, Natasha Greenblatt, more, @ Tarragon Theatre, 8pm, $15-$30       /      “Clash of the Titans”, @ Rainbow Market Square, 9:30pm (also 7pm), $4

WEDNESDAY Apr. 7th: “Oh What A Lovely War”, w/ Michael Hanrahan, Alison Jutzi, Oliver Dennis, more, @ The Young Centre, 7:30pm, $28-$70 ($5-$20 rush tickets 1 hour B4 show) /      “Murder Folk Night“, w/ Sandy Pool, Sean Dixon, Bob Wiseman, hosts Carey Toane and Ryan Kamstra, more, @ The Press Club (850 Dundas St. W. ), 8pm, PWYC /      “Comedy at the Ossington“, w/ David Dineen Porter, Keesha Browning, Darryl Orr, hosts Sara Hennessey & Steph Kaliner & Greg Alsop, more, @ The Ossington (61 Ossington), 9pm, PWYC      /       Wolf Parade (10:15pm), w/ We Are Wolves (9pm), @ The Phoenix, $20

THURSDAY Apr. 8th: Old Man Luedecke in-store, @ Criminal Records, 6:30pm, FREE      /        Owen Pallett, w/ Snowblink, @ Queen Elzabeth Theatre,  7:30pm, $27.50 (ALL AGES)       /       Performance Spring 2010: “This Time”, w/ Brendan Wyatt & Justine Chambers, @ Factory Theatre Studio, 8pm, $18-$22       /     GSUS CD Launch Party, w/ The Lost Fingers, Curtis Santiago, Maylee Todd, more, @ Tattoo Rock Parlour (567 Queen St. W. ), 9pm, FREE      / Joke Club“, w/ Jason Rouse, Dinkus, Kathleen Phillips & Katie Crown, host Nick Flanagan, more, @ Comedy Bar,  10pm, $7      / Land of Talk, w/ Adam & The Amethysts, @ Lee’s Palace, 10pm, $10

FRIDAY Apr. 9th: Giiwedin: a First Nation’s Opera“, w/ Ryan Allen, Nicole Joy-Fraser, Jesse Clark, more, @ Theatre Passe Muraille, 8pm, PWYC      / BikeSauce Fundraiser“, w/ Abdominal & The Obliques, Hooded Fang, Entire Cities, more, @ Blue Moon Pub (725 Queen St. E.), 9pm, $5-%10 (PWYC)      /      Girls, w/ Dum Dum Girls, @ The Phoenix, $16.50     /     “9 to 5“, w/ Alex Hatz, Jan Caruana,  Carmine Lucarelli, more, @ Bad Dog Theatre, 10pm, $10     /      Fanfarlo, w/ Lawrence Arabia, Robert Francis, @ Lee’s Palace, $12

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The Dum Dum Girls open for Girls (yes, two very different bands) next Friday at the Phoenix. I find this video a pretty interesting comparison to Lady GaGa’s recent prison-set video for “Telephone”.

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Fine Print:

- All prices listed are advance ticket prices (where applicable). With many of these shows, especially music and theatre, if you show up at the door, you run the risk of being turned away due to a sell out.

- All times are start times, NOT door times. If you show up after the posted time, the show will likely already be underway.

- I typically cap the listed performers at three mentioned per show. The bill of bands / acts / performers is often much larger (particularly for comedy and theatre).

- Theatre and Comedy events are ALL AGES, unless otherwise noted. Music events are 19+, unless otherwise noted (FREE in-store and outdoor performances are ALL AGES, due to the lack of alcohol service).

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Weekly Update 293 (Mar. 26th – Apr. 2nd, 2010) http://www.gracingthestage.ca/?p=4112 http://www.gracingthestage.ca/?p=4112#comments Mon, 29 Mar 2010 02:02:48 +0000 Steve http://www.gracingthestage.ca/?p=4112 So, Colin and I have FINALLY sorted out the email database issues – sort of (for a full account of what exactly happened to the site, and what we’ve been dealing with since February, check out this post). A very small minority of the subscribers receiving this update may have unsubscribed already, as it’s from an older back-up: if that describes you, my apologies. Please shoot me another email, and I’ll take you off the list (again). Conversely, if you’re reading this post and wondering why you didn’t get an email about it, email me, and I’ll hook you up.

Enough business! Read on for the good stuff.

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IN THEATRE & DANCE,

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it’s International Theatre Day this Saturday, and goodness me, is there a lot to choose from.

Top to bottom: Ravi Jain, Troels Hagen Findsen, and Katrina Bugaj, in Why Not Theatre's "I'm So Close... It's Not Even Funny". The movement / multimedia heavy play is part of the Free Fall Festival that wraps up this weekend, though "I'm So Close" continues another week at the Theatre Centre.

Top to bottom: Ravi Jain, Troels Hagen Findsen, and Katrina Bugaj, in Why Not Theatre's "I'm So Close... It's Not Even Funny". The movement / multimedia play is part of the Free Fall Festival that wraps up this weekend, though "I'm So Close" continues another week at the Theatre Centre. Poster by Mina Mikhail.

You could start with one of the festivals, like the Free Fall Festival ‘10, which wraps up on Sunday; it features new works from companies across the country, at the Theatre Centre, and at the Harbourfront Centre, in conjunction with that institution’s World Stage Series. Offerings include Theatre Direct’s drama “On The Side of the Road” (from Calgary), The Chop Theatre’s interview compilation show “KISMET one to one hundred” (visiting from Vancouver), and tri-national company Why Not Theatre’s visually inventive “I’m So Close…“, which runs one week longer at the Theatre Centre.

Also closing this weekend are dance/theatre hybrid company Theatre Rusticle’s “Birnam Wood” at Theatre Passe Muraille, a work inspired by (but not telling) the story of “Macbeth”, and the youth showcase Paprika Festival, up at Tarragon Theatre.

Tarragon’s also playing host and producer to Daniel MacIvor’s gripping new play “Communion“, which is near the top of the heap of continuing shows. Other worthy contenders include “Breakfast” at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, and “Art” and “The Overwhelming” at recently rebranded Canadian Stage’s two Front Street venues. There’s also quite a few musical offerings, such as popular fringe hit “My Mother’s Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding” (extended one last time to April 10th), Soulpepper’s wartime revue “Oh What A Lovely War“, and the very musical (but WILDLY different) “Who Knew Grannie: a Dub Aria“. Be forewarned; many of these shows must close on April 3rd or 4th…

One of my favourite projects on right now in Toronto is Theatrefront’s “The Mill“, which has four different parts, each written by a different playwright, all centering around a rural mill that’s been a site of various horrors and ghostly intrigue over the centuries. Tara Beagan’s “Part 3: The Woods“, which opened last week at the Young Centre, is a prequel of sorts, to Hannah Moscovitch’s “Part 2: The Huron Bride” and Matthew MacFadzean’s “Part 1: Now We Are Brody“. Both Parts 1 and 2 get a very limited couple of performances this week and next weekend, to supplement the run of Part 3.

Other just opened or opening shows this week include the Actor’s Repertory Company production of Martin Crimp’s “The City“, and Theatre SMASH’s world premiere of Graeme Gillis‘ “A Boy Called Newfoundland“.

Finally, Morgan Jones Phillip’s storytelling show “The Emergency Monologues” returns for two nights (and four sets) late next week, to say goodbye to The Cameron House, the  tiny backroom venue on Queen Street that’s rumoured to be closing in the next few months.

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Local indie rockers Dinosaur Bones are opening for Canuck rock legends Thrush Hermit all this weekend (including an all ages show Sunday afternoon) at Lee’s Palace; they’re also in the coveted slot of band #100 for local filmmaker Mitch Fillion’s ambitious Southern Souls project. Mitch has just been asked to film videos for several months in Montreal for influential live video site La Blogtheque.

Film, Comedy, Music, more vids and pics, and the weekly calendar picks, are just one “Read more” click away…

Bruce Horak guests on "Ghost Jail Theatre" early Sunday, then pops down Bloor Street to host "Sunday Night Live" at Comedy Bar.

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IN COMEDY,

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Second City’s newest revue, “Second City For Mayor“, has opened to universally complimentary reviews; I’ll be checking it out very soon myself. Lunacy Cabaret celebrates its 5th year and 50th show at the Centre for Gravity Saturday night; that night’s also a “Monkey Toast” evening, as the popular improv/interview show winds down its run (creator David Shore is leaving for the UK in a few months). Bad Dog Theatre has a strong showcase that evening as well, as “Off Off Broadview” features a large rotating cast of some of the city’s best actor-improvisers (many performers seem to pigeonhole themselves as one or the other).

Sunday night, “This is Cancer” creator and performer Bruce Horak guests on “Ghost Jail Theatre“, then goes down the street to host “Sunday Night Live“, with guest troubadour Henri Faberge (who also plays Thursday at !059 as part of Spin Cycle – for more on that, check the Music section).

Horak’s busy the one night, but keener Sara Hennessey is hosting at least three nights (that I’m aware of) this week; she’ll be running the show at Laugh Sabbath’s “Hour of Power” on Sunday, her own show “You Laugh Now!” Thursday, and Friday’s “Catch 23 Improv” at Comedy Bar (which will be followed by the rambunctious improv rhyming duel show “Rap Battlez“).

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IN FILM,

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Neil Young, still rockin' after all these years. Photo by Larry Cragg.

Visually striking (and somewhat depressing) documentary “Manufactured Landscapes” is Camera Bar’s free Saturday afternoon screening this weekend. The Royal Cinema is also running a documentary all this week; following the highly acclaimed White Stripes documentary “Under Great White Northern Lights” (which was held over twice), they’re screening another concert doc,  “Neil Young Trunk Show“.

There’s a number of new films opening this weekend by directors who’ve had indie hits in the past; “Greenberg” is the sixth feature from Noah Baumbach, who specializes in giving the audience deeply unlikeable but still sympathetic characters (this time around, it’s Ben Stiller as a bitter failed musician). There’s also the murder mystery Korean feature “Mother“, from Boog Joon-ho, who thrilled horror fans with his hit “The Host”.

If you’re in the mood for more mainstream fare, silly sounding comedy flick “Hot Tub Time Machine” arrives this weekend, trailing quite a lot of positive word of mouth; next weekend, the 3-d sword & sandal (and creature feature) epic “Clash of the Titans” arrives.

Finally, on the off chance I’ve not yet mentioned it; The Scotiabank Theatre has now joined Rainbow Market Square and Cumberland Cinemas in offering half price deals on Tuesdays. So you’ve got quite a lot of choice that evening for a discounted film deal.

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IN MUSIC,

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Halifax heroes and rock veterans Thrush Hermit play three shows over the weekend at Lee’s Palace. They’re not the only veteran band coming through town this week; Spoon, Nada Surf, and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club are all playing gigs in T.O. between now and next Friday. Also in town and headlining are up and coming bands The Ruby Suns (with excellent local openers Whale Tooth),  Beach House, Julian Casablancas (best known as the frontman for The Strokes, and this recent video), and Abbotsford, B.C.’s You Say Party! We Say Die! And even if you can’t get into their sold-out Saturday night show, you can catch The Black Lips this weekend by showing up at record store Sonic Boom (with a donation to the Daily Food Bank) on Sunday afternoon.

Local musicians playing this weekend include In Flight Safety (with guests Said the Whale and We Are The Take), and Young Doctors in Love, who are playing a CD release show (with guests The Phonemes, and Charms). There’s also a terrific triple bill of Mantler, Steamboat, and Alex Lukashevsky at The Piston on Bloor Street, next Thursday night.

But the coolest sounding show of the week starts early on Thursday, around 6pm. Local label Fuzzy Logic Recordings, in conjunction with label signee Gravity Wave, has organized a tour of the Annex’s coin laundromats, with live performance sets at each location along the neighborhood tour. Some of the bands will be playing as “themselves” (Buckets Of, The Pinecones, Almonds, Cohen, etc.), while other musicians (members of Hooded Fang, The Bicycles, The Pickups, and more) will be doing one night only collaborations with comics and dancers. The walking/biking/rolling tour will culminate in a Gravity Wave set at party house !059, as well as a set by house host Henri Faberge (who’s also the musical guest Sunday night at Comedy Bar).

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Another sublime Southern Souls video: The Phonemes open for Young Doctors in Love this Saturday night, at that band’s CD release at Rancho Relaxo.

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Steve’s Weekly Picks for Mar. 27th – Apr. 2nd, 2010:

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Sara Hennessey is a busy hostess: the funny gal MCs this week at Laugh Sabbath's "Hour of Power" Sunday at The Rivoli, Thursday at "You Laugh Now!" at a Parkdale cafe, and Friday at Comedy Bar's "Catch 23 Improv". Photo by Anthony Suppa.

SATURDAY Mar. 27th Aft.: Birnam Wood” closing show, w/ Maev Beatty, Hume Baugh, Lucy Rupert, more, @ Theatre Passe Muraille Mainspace, 2:30pm, PWYC     /     “The Overwhelming“, w/ Karim Morgan, Audrey Dwyer, David Storch, more, @ Canstage Berkeley Theatre, 2pm, $20-$45

SATURDAY Mar. 27th Eve: Free Fall ‘10: “KISMET one to one hundred“, w/  Hazel Venzon, Daryl King, Anita Rochon, more, @ The Theatre Centre, 7pm, $20      /       “Lunacy Cabaret’s 5 & 50 Anniversary!“, w/ Melissa D’Agonstino, Dave McKay, Sarah Buski, many more, @ Centre of Gravity (1300 gerrard St. E.), 8:30pm, $15 (“Gold Diggers & Millionares” theme) /      Free Fall ‘10: “I’m So Close (It’s Not Even Funny)”, w/ Ravi Jain, Katrina Bugaj, and  Troels Hagen Findsen, @ The Theatre Centre, 9pm, $20      /       Young Doctors in Love CD release, w/ The Phonemes, Charms, @ Rancho Relaxo, 9:30pm, $5      /        Bad Dog Theatre Presents… “Off Off Broadview“, w/ Dave Pearce, Ashley Botting, James Gangl, host/producer Kerry Griffin, more, @  Bad Dog Theatre, 10pm, $10      /       In Flight Safety, w/ Said The Whale, We Are the Take, more, @ El Mocambo, 10pm, $10.50

SUNDAY Mar. 28th Aft.:  Free Fall ‘10: “Little Illiad”, w/ Evan Webber, &”Thom”, @ The Theatre Centre, 1:15pm (& 2:15pm), PWYC     /       “Breakfast“, w/ Karin Randoja, Evalyn Parry, and Anna Chatterton, @ Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, 2:30pm, PWYC      /     Thrush Hermit (4:45pm), w/ Dinosaur Bones (3:30pm), @ Lee’s Palace, $17.50, ALL AGES     /      Black Lips in-store, @ Sonic Boom, 4pm, FREE (w/ food donation to Daily Food Bank)

SUNDAY Mar. 28th Eve:Ghost Jail Theatre“, w/ Bruce Horak, Andrea Del Campos, Allyson Pratt, more, @ Clinton’s, 7:30pm, $5      /     “Sunday Night Live“, w/ The Sketchersons, host Bruce Horak, musical guest Henri Faberge, more, @ Comedy Bar, 9pm, $8

MONDAY Mar. 29th: The City“, w/ Janet Porter, Peter James Haworth, Anja Bundy, more, @ Berkeley St. Theatre, 8pm, PWYC       /      “Pirate Video Cabaret“, w/ Jo-Anna Downey, Chris Locke, Alana Johnston, host Simon Fraser, more, @ Clinton’s, 8pm, $5 /      Spoon (10:15pm), w/ Deerhunter (9:05pm), The Strange Boys (8:15pm), @ The Sound Academy, $24.50       /      Nada Surf ( 10:15pm), w/ Dawn Ladnes & The Hound (9pm), @ Lee’s Palace, $16.50

Ryan Hollyman & Michelle Latimer in the spooky environs of "The Mill", a four part play cycle by Theatrefront. Parts 1, 2, and 3 are running this week at The Young Centre; this image is of the two in "Part 3: The Woods", by Tara Beagan. Photo by Chris Gallow.

TUESDAY Mar. 30th: Second City For Mayor“, w/ Kris Siddiqui, Cailtin Howden, Adam Cawley, more, @ Second City, $15-$24     /      “The Mill, Part 2: The Huron Bride”, w/ Michelle Monteith, Eric Goulem, Maev Beaty, more, @ The Young Centre, 8pm, $20-$30 ($15 with “LYCA 1021″ discount code)      /      The Ruby Suns (10:15pm), w/ Whale Tooth (9:30pm), @ The Drake Hotel Underground, $11

WEDNESDAY Mar. 31st: The Mill, Part 3: The Woods“, w/ Holly Lewis, Ryan Hollyman, Michelle Latimer, more, @ The Young Centre, 8pm, $20-$30 ($15 with “LYCA 1021″ discount code) / The Neil Young Trunk Show“, @ The Royal Cinema, 9pm, $10 /      “The Carnegie Hall Show“, w/ Ennis Esmer, Naomi Snieckus, Cleopatra & The Carnegie Hall Dancers, musical guest Carly Hefferman, more, @ Bread and Circus, 9pm, PWYC

THURSDAY Apr. 1st: Gravity Wave & Fuzzy Logic Recordings Present… Spin Cycle 2010“, w/  Gravity Wave, The Pinecones, Buckets Of, many more, @ coin laundromats (930 Bloor, 318 Harbord, 292 Harbord, 292 Lippencott, finish @ !059), 6pm-11pm, PWYC /       “The Mill, Part 1: Now We Are Brody”, w/ Frank Cox O’Donnell, Michelle Montieth, Richard Greenblatt, more, @ The Young Centre, 8pm, $20-$30 /     “You Laugh Now!“, w/ Michael Balazo, Rebecca Kohler, Tim Gilbert, host Sara Hennessey, more, @ Rustic Cosmos Cafe (1278 Queen St. W.), 9pm, FREE     / Mantler, w/ Steamboat, Alex Lukashevsky, more, @ The Piston (937 Bloor St W), 9:30 pm, PWYC

FRIDAY Apr. 2nd: The Emergency Monologues“, w/ Morgan Jones Phillips, @ The Cameron House, 8pm (& 10:30pm), $10     /      “Catch 23 Improv“, w/ Bob Wiseman, David Dineen Porter, Anand Rajaram, host Sara Hennessey, more, @ Comedy Bar, 8pm, $8 /        Julian Casablancas (10pm), w/ Funreal Party (9pm),@ Kool Haus, $25        /     “Rap Battlez 3.0“, w/ Matt Folliot, Kevin Dowse, Andy Hull, hosts Miguel & Freddie Rivas, more, @ Comedy Bar, 10:30pm, $5     /      You Say Party! We Say Die! (12am), w/ Styrofoam Ones (11pm), Makeout Video Tape (10pm), @ The Horseshoe Tavern, $12.50

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Ken Farrell, AKA the Fearless Leader of Gravity Wave, has organized a bike/walk tour of the Annex’s laundromats this Thursday, with bands playing at each suds stop (Gravity Wave will headline at the tour’s final destination, legendary party house !059).

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Fine Print:

- All prices listed are advance ticket prices (where applicable). With many of these shows, especially music and theatre, if you show up at the door, you run the risk of being turned away due to a sell out.

- All times are start times, NOT door times. If you show up after the posted time, the show will likely already be underway.

- I typically cap the listed performers at three mentioned per show. The bill of bands / acts / performers is often much larger (particularly for comedy and theatre).

- Theatre and Comedy events are ALL AGES, unless otherwise noted. Music events are 19+, unless otherwise noted (FREE in-store and outdoor performances are ALL AGES, due to the lack of alcohol service).

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What the heck happened to the website?!? http://www.gracingthestage.ca/?p=4089 http://www.gracingthestage.ca/?p=4089#comments Sat, 27 Mar 2010 18:36:48 +0000 Steve http://www.gracingthestage.ca/?p=4089

Steve when he realized gracingthestage.ca V. 1 was FUBAR.

So, I’ve told many people in person what happened to the website over the past month, but I’ve been putting off the written version for some time, because I thought it would come across as really depressing in print. And maybe it will, although there’s lots of odd and funny twists to it.

The short version; gracingthestage.ca was infected by malware in February, prompting us to take it offline to de-bug it; while we thought we’d backed the whole site up, when we restored it, everything, save for the post content, had been lost. So the site is now back up in a bare-bones (read: simple and kinda ugly) format, and will be changing slowly, as we attempt to restore the site to its original lustre and functionality.

For those interested in more detail on what the malware did and how we handled it, read on. For those who just want to know how it’ll affect the site from now on; future posts should be fine, past posts will have their pictures and mp3s restored (very, VERY slowly, one at a time), and the site will be repaired and improved (top bar bio and other pages, side bar blogroll, archives, etc., etc.) slowly over the next little while, from the current settings.

Also, the email list was impacted, so you should contact Steve if you’ve changed your email in the past year or two, aren’t receiving the weekly update (by next week), or start receiving it when you’d requested to be unsubscribed.

OK, from the beginning: back in February, while prepping Update 292, I started experiencing a very annoying re-direct on my browser. My personal spyware caught it, and a little online research revealed it to be “JS Downloader Agent”, a pesky little malware code. I believed it had infected my personal computer, owning to a download of a picture of The Thin White Duke from a particularly shady looking celebrity website. I ran all sorts of spyware and security checks, and it seemed I’d been able to contain and delete it, after several hours of annoyance. I finished and posted the update to gracingthestage.

A few days later, fellow blogger Carl Wilson of Zoilus sent me a message telling me that every time he visited gracingthestage, he was automatically re-directed elsewhere (more on that later). Uh oh; this sounded depressingly familiar. I called up Colin, and we started looking into it.

It turns out the malware code’s “point of entry” hadn’t been my personal computer, but via gracingthestage’s Wordpress software, probably because I had foolishly not updated said software for the site for several months, despite it prompting me to do so right at the top of the admin page. Had I done so, the malware code probably wouldn’t have been able to worm its way in. So the first moral of the story: ALWAYS update your software when prompted!

Apparently, this code was Chinese in origin. And bafflingly enough, it was automatically re-directing not to a fake shopping site, or porn, or a gambling site, but to a URL that began with “China.TV”, and was an embedded video of a Chinese company building a dam (possibly The Three Gorges). Was the Chinese government hacking my little performing arts blog to promote its massive construction capabilities? I don’t know, but it’s still a real headscratcher; I can only surmise that the malware coders had designed the worm to trawl the net and hack any rubes who’d left a back door open to their website (like I had), solely to drive traffic to this “China.TV” site.

Anyway, Colin took this virus VERY seriously: he has a strict “nuke from orbit” policy when it comes to malware. He undertook an aggressive eradication campaign, starting by deleting and re-installing our Wordpress software. As I’ve said, he prudently backed up the site before doing so; however, what he didn’t back up was our theme and “widgets”. SO… when the site came back online, it was a blank white page, with a column of text running down a thin column in the middle, with a blue background header. On this header, in a default font, it read “Gracing the Stage”, and directly below, “Just Another WordPress Weblog”. OUCH.

The good news was there was no trace of the virus; a fact our web hosting company, wedohosting.com, confirmed (I really really like and recommend those guys). The bad news: gone was the top bar pages and navigation, the side bar calendar (which, granted, I hadn’t been updating in some time), search engine, etc., etc – basically, every element of the painstakingly constructed Version 1. Also gone was all the gorgeous design I’d paid a professional designer to implement (part of the money raised at last year’s launch party had paid for this), and the gorgeous colour grading, margin spacing, and other small but vital design tweaks Colin had spent so much time doing himself. In effect, the website had disappeared, leaving only the text of the posts. Hotlinks (thank God) and embedded videos still work, because they weren’t dependent on installed widgets (which we had quite a few of in the old design); pictures and MP3 links, whose pathways were reliant on a folder deleted in the reinstall, are all broken, and will need to be replaced, one at a time, by yours truly.

Also deleted was the 1,000 strong email database. Luckily, Colin had a backup from when he first transferred the emails over in Dec. 2008 from the old Yahoo Group site (that had issued the weekly updates for almost 6 years); and 90% of the new email subscribers over the past year, I have a written copy of their email. So we’ve re-installed those (one at a time, if they were from the past year). If you’ve unsubscribed in the past year, that’d be why you’re receiving the update again; please email me to cancel again (with my apologies). You should also contact me if you’ve changed your email in the past couple of years, and still want to receive the weekly update (still, IMO, the most reliable way to keep tabs on the local performing arts scenes).

I’ve taken this setback pretty hard, to be perfectly frank. The website’s original design was absolutely beautiful to my eyes, and although I know it was due for a minor redesign (mostly of the sidebar, so there was a proper blogroll, and more social media integration with Twitter and what not), the overall page was still a clean and crisp knockout. It’s going to take a good long while (and some cash that I frankly can’t spend right now) to get it looking that good again. Also, Colin is much busier these days, and has far less free time to spend on re-designing the site himself (hard work), or showing me how to do so (MUCH harder – I am HTML illiterate). So this plug and play theme we’re currently using (which I’m not a huge fan of) may be in place for a while longer.

If anyone has any questions or comments, please do get in touch, or comment below. I’d like to personally thank Colin for all his hard work, our hosting company for doing their best to help us with what was really none of their business, and all the local companies, performers, and producers who’ve been affected by this blackout. I’m especially grateful to those who’ve continued to comp me to see shows, even when I haven’t had a viable way to promote their work; hopefully, what I’ve seen will inform on what I promote in the future (which is always the case, I suppose, even when I don’t write about a show in detail).

Thanks for stickin’ with us; I’ll endeavour to start being as productive as I was this time last year. First update since the crash should be posted just a few hours after this explanation post!

See you around town,

Steve

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Weekly Update 292 (Feb. 5th – Feb. 12th, 2010) http://www.gracingthestage.ca/?p=3969 http://www.gracingthestage.ca/?p=3969#comments Sun, 07 Feb 2010 21:47:35 +0000 Steve http://www.gracingthestage.ca/?p=3969 The first update of 2010 (and the first in more than 3 months!) is two days late, partly due to a computer virus, but better late than never! I’d almost forgotten how to write these. The website hasn’t been entirely fallow since November; I’ve posted Best of 2009 posts on “music albums” and “Summerworks shows”, with “Fringe shows” coming up soon, and “comedy shows” and “music singles” not far behind. But the core of the site – the updates – well, it’s good to have one of those up again, and I’m going to try to stick to the schedule from here on in.

For first time readers: detailed info about shows mentioned in the update are mostly contained in the week’s scheduled picks (near the end of the update). The main body will usually be hotlink-free (save for “special interest” tangents).


In Theatre & Dance,


There’s TWO productions of Stephen Sondheim’s black comedic history musical, “Assassins“, that have just opened in Toronto, and while the Hart House one will almost certainly be of better quality than most community or college productions, it’s Birdland Theatre and Talk is Free Productions‘ version, down at the Theatre Centre, that I’m most looking forward to, by far. It’s got a bona fide Broadway star at the helm (director and local boy made good Adam Brazier), and boasts both renowned belters ( like Eliza Jane Scott, Steve Ross, & Trish Lindstrom) and actors who heretofore have not appeared in a musical professionally (like Kate Hewlett and Chris Stanton), musical though they might be. And that would definitely have to be the case, since the entire cast plays accompanying instruments for the show.

Not yet opened, but running already in previews, are the remount of Convergence Theatre’s “YICHUD (Seclusion)“, who managed to overcome the Harold Green funding debacle with the assistance of generous donations from the theatre community; Obsidian Theatre and Canstage’s production of “Intimate Apparel, a story of a Harlem seamstress (scheduled to coincide with Black History Month); and the world premiere of Rosa Laborde’s eagerly awaited sophomore play, “Hush“, a psychological mystery, wherin a father seeks to discover the cause of his daughter’s night terrors (Laborde was mentioned in my Best Summerworks shows of ‘09 post as the director of the #1 show).

Two other new plays by renowned Canadian playwrights Michael Healy (“Couragous” @ The Tarragon Theatre) and  Judith Thompson (“Such Creatures” at Theatre Passe Muraille) close Sunday, while George F. Walker’s newest, “And So It Goes” , continues at Factory Theatre.

Other continuing shows include “Peer Gynt” (Susan Coyne works with indie company The Thistle Project, whose production of “Miss Julie“  in 2008 trounced CanStage’s in almost every way), “Billy Bishop Goes to War” (Eric Petersen & John Gray bring back their phenomenally popular WWII flying ace play to Soulpepper), “Cloud 9” (a stellar Canuck cast, including Megan Follows, Evan Builing, and Yanna McIntosh, subvert gender norms in two different time periods), and “Light in the Piazza” (a critically acclaimed Broadway hit that ’s spoken and sung partly in Italian).

Dance shows running this week include “Under a Paper Moon“, a multidisciplinary showcase at Hub 14;  Harbourfront Centre’s World Stage Series brings Australian movement thriller “Roadkill” to town for a typically too short run; and Toronto Dance Theatre is presenting a FREE showcase on Monday of work from their upcoming new show, “Pteros Tactics“.

Finally, the 30th annual Rhubarb Festival begins Wednesday at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre; the festival usually runs the gamut from weird to wonderful, and this year promises more of the same, with a wrestling spectacle from Birdland and Swanville (featuring pint sized spandex clad combatants like Cara Gee and Rebecca Applebaum), a “Teddy Chainsaw Massacre“, and a Italian duet, “Parole, Parole“, about “semantic satiation”, which could hopefully end up sounding somewhat like this not quite Italian or English musical extravaganza...

Film, Comedy, Music, more vids and pics, and the weekly calendar picks, are just one “More” click away…

Actress and improviser Tatiana Maslany won the “Breakout Performance” award last weekend at the Sundance Film Festival (the only Canadian to win an award at the prestigious fest), for her role in “Grown Up Movie Star” as a sexually precocious teen in a small town who dreams of Hollywood stardom. The above improvised video, which gives you some idea of Tat’s comedic gifts, is from filmmaker Mike Fly’s Improv Monologue Project series.


In Film,

I’m generally far more enthusiastic about the repertory cinemas, but this week, it’s downtown megaplex Scotiabank Theatre Cinemas that’s piqued my interest. Reason 1: They’ve just launched the inaugural Great Digital Film Festival, screening a wide variety of classic films like “The Godfather“, “Ghostbusters“, and “The Wizard of Oz” on DLP screens in HiDef, for $5 a show (or $9 for a double feature). Reason 2: They’re screening recent Canadian films like “Grown Up Movie Star” (see above) and “Frozen“, the hit indie horror flick about 3 skiers trapped on a chairlift. Reason 3: they’ve quietly brought back half price Tuesdays, so you can see the aforementioned indie films for $6.26…

They reps, meanwhile, are, for the most part, currently screening movies recently nominated for Oscars. PLEASE tell me you’ve already seen “The Hurt Locker” (I’ll be crushed if director Kathryn Bigelow loses to her ex-husband James Cameron for Best Director). The Royal Cinema, bucking the trend, is screening a locally shot documentary about teens growing up in St. Jamestown, “Invisible City“, that exposes the troubling problems in the subsidized housing projects in the neighborhood.

In Comedy,

Impatient Theatre and Comedy Bar are hosting star improv duo BASSprov this weekend; Indiana’s favourite good ol’ boys are performing Friday and Saturday in the late night slot at Comedy Bar, as well as teaching classes over the weekend to Impatient Theatre students (who get into the shows half price).

Sunday night, Laugh Sabbath show “Let’s Get Hot!” features usual guests like Charlotte the Harlot (Kathleen Phillips) and Bad News Brian (Brian Barlow), but also on the bill are Kid in the Hall Scott Thompson, Dini Dimakos (comedy blogger, Muchmusic’s “Love Court“), and oddball Jon McCurley (whose Life of a Craphead act recently opened for Owen Pallett).

Over at Bad Dog Theatre, they’ve brought the original Theatresports format back on the weekends, expanding to two nights (Friday and Saturday). They’ve also begun a new tournament series, Dual Duel, hot on the heels of their recently wrapped month long Globehead competition (won by Illusionoid PrimePaul Bates, Nug Nahrgang, and Lee Smart).

In Music,

There’s in-store performances this Friday by Hawksley Workman and Great Lake Swimmers, whose Saturday show at Trinty St. Paul’s is sold out. Also sold out this week is The Magnetic Fields on Monday at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, with opener Laura Barrett, who also plays next Friday as part of…

Wavelength 499 & 500 – the BIG news of the week in music. Yes, the celebrated music series and ‘zine is finally drawing to a close with a massive blowout festival at a different venue each night, starting on Wednesday, and running until next Sunday. First, there’s the last regular Wavelength, #499, this Sunday, with a line-up of up and comers picked by longtime host Doc Pickles; then, starting on Wednesday, some of Wavelength’s most noted alumni, many of whom have disbanded (or haven’t played town in ages), are coming back one last time, such as Rocket’s Red Glare, Barcelona Pavilion, Holy Fuck, The Bicycles, and The Russian Futurists.

There ARE other shows going on this week, too. There’s the second night of Gentleman Reg’s Heavy Head residency at the Drake Hotel Underground (Woodpigeon and Betty Burke play on Thursday, as well); The Meligrove Band are opening Bookie’s Nu Music Nite on Tuesday at the Horseshoe Tavern (which is FREE as always); and Magenta Lane are releasing their newest CD next Friday (also at the ‘Shoe). But it’s the Wavelength shows that’ll be hot tickets, as all the indie kids (and adults, at this point) try to recapture the feeling that the seminal series has stirred, at one point or another, over the last decade, and with 1,100 bands to have played… well, that’s a LOT of fans.



Jonas Bonnetta, AKA Evening Hymns (and #7 on my Best Albums of ‘09 list), is one of the opening acts of the Wavelength 500 Festival, a 4 night celebration of the last ten years of the influential music series, as it draws to a close (this clip by Colin Medley was filmed at Wavelength #452).

Steve’s Weekly Picks for Feb. 5th – Feb. 12th, 2010:


Blonde rock star #1: David Bowie is "Jareth the Goblin King" in the fantasy classic "Labyrinth", screenign Sunday at the Scotiabank Theatre Cinemas, as part of the inaugural Great Digital Film Festival.

Blonde rock star #1: David Bowie is "Jareth the Goblin King" in the fantasy classic "Labyrinth", screening Sunday at the Scotiabank Theatre Cinemas, as part of the inaugural Great Digital Film Festival.

FRIDAY Feb. 5th: Hawksley Workman in-store performance, @ Criminal Records, 6pm, FREE     /     Great Lake Swimmers In-store performance, @ Sonic Boom, 6:30pm, FREE /     “Catch 23 Improv“, w/ Rob Norman, Alana Johnston, Ely Henry, host Brendan Hallorhan, more, @ Comedy Bar, 8pm, $5     /    The Great Digital Film Festival: “2001: A Space Odyessey“, @ Scotiabank  Theatre Cinemas, 9:10pm, $5 ($9 double bill)     /     “BASSPROV“, w/ Mark Sutton & Joe Bill, @ Comedy Bar, 10:30pm, $10     /     The Great Digital Film Festival: “The Thing“, @ 11:59pm, $5 ($9 double bill)

SATURDAY Feb. 6th Aft.: Assassins“, w/ Graham Abbey, Trish Lindstrom, Chris Stanton, more, @ The Theatre Centre, 2pm, $33 (2 for 1 matinee)     /      Script Superheroes: “The Chronicles of Sophia Brenee“, w/ Jim Taylor, Katie Lawson, Gary Rideout Jr., more, @ Comedy Bar, 3:30pm, FREE

SATURDAY Feb. 6th Eve:Couragous“, w/ Melissa MacPherson, Brandon McGibbon, Erin MacKinnon, more, @ Tarragon Theatre, 8pm, $20-$38     / BASSPROV“, w/ Mark Sutton & Joe Bill, @ Comedy Bar, 10:30pm, $10 ($% for ITC students)

SUNDAY Feb. 7th Aft.:Such Creatures” closing show, w/ Michaela Washburn & Maria Vacratsis, @ Theatre Passe Muraille (Backspace), 2:30pm, PWYC /     The Great Digital Film Festival: “Labyrinth“, @ Scotiabank Theatre Cinemas, 4pm, $5

SUNDAY Feb. 7th Eve:Peer Gynt“, w/ Susan Coyne, Matthew Romantini, @ Church of the Holy Trinity, 8pm, PWYC     /     “Laugh Sabbath Presents… Let’s Get Hot!“, w/ Scott Thompson, Dini Dimakos, Jon McCurley, hosts Chris Locke & Aaron Eves, more, @ The Rivoli, 9pm, $5     /     Wavelength 499, w/ Half Baked (12:30am), The Tres Bien Ensemble (11:30pm), Princess Century (10:30pm), host Doc Pickles, more, @ The Garrison, 9:30pm, PWYC

Gentleman Reg holds court at the Drake Hotel Underground every Wednesday this month, with a slew of terrific musical guests such as this week's - By Divine Right & The Balconies.

Blonde Rock Star #2: Gentleman Reg holds court at the Drake Hotel Underground every Wednesday this month, with a slew of terrific musical guests, such as this week's - By Divine Right & The Balconies.

MONDAY Feb. 8th: “The Process Revealed: a preview of “Pteros Tactics“, w/ Alana Elmer, David Houle, Sarah Wasik, more, introduced by Christopher House, @ The Winchester Street theatre, 7pm, FREE     /     “Intimate Apparel” preview show, w/ Raven Dauda, Kevin Hanchard, Alex Poch-Goldin, @ Canstage Berkeley Theatre, 8pm, PWYC     /     “Sketch Wars“, w/ Plum Thunder, The Chesterfields, Haircut, host Norm Souza, more, @ Comedy Bar, 8pm, $5

TUESDAY Feb. 9th: Frozen“, @ Scotiabank Cinemas, 7:50pm, $6.26     /     “Under a Paper Moon” opening night, w/ Andrea Spaziani, Linnea Swan, Rebecca Hope Terry, more, @ Hub 14, 8pm, $16-$20     /     “Bookie’s Nu Music Night”, w/ The Meligrove Band (9pm),  Hacienda, Those Darlings, more, @ The Horseshoe Tavern, 8pm, FREE     /     “Grown Up Movie Star“, @ Scotiabank Cinemas, 9:40pm, $6.26

WEDNESDAY Feb. 10th: Wavelength 500 Night 1: Bruce Peninsula, Evening Hymns, Pony da Look, more, @ The Music Gallery, 7pm, $12 /     “Invisible City“, @ The Royal Cinema, 7pm, $8-$10     /     “Dual Duel“, w/ Simon Pond, Laura Salvas, Wayne Molinski, more, @ Bad Dog Theatre, 8pm, $10     /     Gentleman Reg’s Heavy Head Residency, w/ By Divine Right, The Balconies, @ The Drake Hotel Underground, 9:30pm, $10 (includes digital EP)

THURSDAY Feb. 11th: The Great Digital Film Festival: “Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan“, @ The Scotiabank Theatre Cinemas, 7pm, $5     /       Rhubarb Festival, Week 1: “Parole, Parole“, w/ Lindy Zucker, Paul Kit, Carmen Grant, more, @ Buddies in Bad Times Theatre (Chamber), 8pm, $17 (evening pass)     /     Wavelength 500, Night 2: Holy Fuck, The Russian Futurists, Fembots, more, @ The Steamwhistle Brewery, 8pm, $18      /     Rhubarb Festival, Week 1: “Dead Wrestlers“, w/ Cara Gee, Nicole Stamp, Rebecca Applebaum, more, @ Buddies in Bad Times Theatre (Chamber), 8:30pm, $17 (evening pass)     / Rhubarb Festival, Week 1: “Teddy Chainsaw Massacre“, w/ Sherri Hay and Ulysses Castellanos, @ Buddies in Bad Times Theatre (Chamber), 9pm, $17 (evening pass)     / Woodpigeon, w/ Betty Burke, @ The Drake Hotel Underground, 9:30pm, $12

FRIDAY Feb. 12th:Hush” preview show, w/ Vivien Endicott-Douglas, Graeme Somerville, Tara Rosling, more, @ Tarragon Theatre, 8pm, $20 (limited $10 rush tix available @ 6pm)     /     “Catch 23 Improv“, w/ Sarah Hillier, Andy Hull, Kayla Lorette, host Becky Johnson, more, @ Comedy Bar, 8pm, $5     /     Wavelength 500 Night 3: From Fiction, The Bicycles, Laura Barrett, more, @ Sneaky Dee’s, 9pm, $12     /      Magneta Lane CD release (12:30am), w/ Make Your Exit (11:30pm), Elias & The Barettas (10:30pm), @ The Horseshoe Tavern, 9:30pm, $8



(Here’s The Balconies performing “Battle Royale” for Mitch Fillion of Southern Souls; Jacquie, Stephen, and Liam, who made #5 on my Best Albums of ‘09 list, will be opening for Gentleman Reg at his Heavy Head residency at the Drake this Wednesday.)


Fine Print:

- All prices listed are advance ticket prices (where applicable). With many of these shows, especially music and theatre, if you show up at the door, you run the risk of being turned away due to a sell out.

- All times are start times, NOT door times. If you show up after the posted time, the show will likely already be underway.

- I typically cap the listed performers at three mentioned per show. The bill of bands / acts / performers is often much larger (particularly for comedy and theatre).

- Theatre and Comedy events are ALL AGES, unless otherwise noted. Music events are 19+, unless otherwise noted (FREE in-store and outdoor performances are ALL AGES, due to the lack of alcohol service).

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Top 9 of '09: Best Festival shows, Part 1: Summerworks http://www.gracingthestage.ca/?p=3967 http://www.gracingthestage.ca/?p=3967#comments Mon, 18 Jan 2010 21:04:40 +0000 Steve http://www.gracingthestage.ca/?p=3967 The second post of my Best 9 of ‘09 series was supposed to be theatre in general; however, when I realized that 4 of my preliminary picks were Summerworks shows, I realized that Fringe and Summerworks deserved their own lists entirely. So there’ll be a Best of Theatre ‘09 list down the pipeline, but first – a post each, celebrating Toronto’s new work festivals. The Next Stage Theatre Festival is running to the end of this weekend at the Factory Theatre, featuring many of the actors and companies singled out for praise in these lists; I’ll mention their current offerings where applicable, as well as shows outside of Next Stage.

Naive little me thought I’d manage a post a day (hah!) when I started these retrospective posts, but they’re working out to 5 or more days apiece, so it’s entirely possible I won’t finish until the end of January! But for those curious, next up will be the Fringe Festival, then the Best Comedy Shows of 2009, then a Best Singles of 2009 post (plus an update by next Friday).

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Best Summerworks Moments of 2009

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One of the remarkable things about how the Summerworks Festival has evolved under Artistic Director Michael Rubenfeld is how it’s grown to include performance events that aren’t strictly stage plays; for this past year’s festival, I saw 27 plays, 18 bands, 9 Performance Gallery pieces, and 3 Summerwalks tours. So I’ve tried to pull from all those experiences in listing my top Summerworks picks, by citing particular events and moments that stood out and crystallized why that show was worthy of mention.

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#9: Maev Beaty’s painter seduces Erin Shields’s shopgirl in “Montparnasse

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Erin Shields and Maev Beaty played with audiences' conceptions of the nude model as their characters gradually succumbed to greed, lust, and jealousy in the riveting "Montparnasse". Photo by Amanda Lynne Ballard.

When both of the writer/performers of this fascinating look at nude models in 1920’s Paris first shed their clothes on stage, they did so in a way that lulled the audience into accepting the nudity as natural and non-sexual, and therefore non-threatening. The posing and attitudes all suggested that the character’s disrobing was being done for art and beauty’s sake, and that anyone sexualizing it (or thinking of it as shameful) would be ruining the compact by subverting something liberating and beautiful.

But midway through the play, Beaty’s lesbian painter Amelia seduced Shields (playing a secondary character, an assistant who can help further Amelia’s career), succumbing to both her own lust, and the desire to insinuate herself into the inner circles of Paris’ cultural elite. All of a sudden, all bets were off. As Amelia slowly stripped clothes off the tough-talking shopgirl, her brusque demeanour dissolved, and was replaced with a vulnerability hitherto unseen when skin was exposed; a vulnerability that was taken advantage of. The apple had been tasted of, and for the rest of the play, the nudity was no longer quite so innocent.

Many critics marveled at the bravery of Shields and Beaty for spending so much time nude in “Montparnasse“, but it was this re-contextualizing of that nudity that was the audacious choice in their show.

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#8: Oh No Forest Fires‘ cover of “Footloose

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There were all sorts of incredible performances over the course of the Summerworks Music Series. Two of the bands on my Best Albums of 2009 list, Think About Life (#1) and Great Bloomers (#10) were among the bands who played extraordinary sets (and since they’ve already been mentioned, were “disqualified” from this list), and nearly every night, as least one of the bands got people up and dancing.

Among the best to do so, however, were ONFF and their set ending cover of Kenny Loggin’s classic “Footloose“. Faced with a smaller mid-week crowd than most of the festival’s nights, ONFF gradually got the crowd warmed up and dancing, and when they busted out “Footloose“, there wasn’t a still foot in the house.

Sadly, ONFF recently announced their last show on Jan. 23rd (which you should definitely consider attending); in the meantime, while there is a video of ONFF performing “Footloose, the sound quality is pretty terrible, so here’s a clip of them performing their own song, “It’s Not Fun and Games Unless Someone Loses an Eye“.

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(The rest of the Summerworks list, including some choice videos, follows below.)

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#7: Meeting Byron Abalos‘ “Lola Lita

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Byron Abalos and his Lola Lita were the highlight of the inaugural Summerwalks program.

I really enjoyed Dana Puddicombe’s Summerwalks tour through Queen St. West’s alleyways and along the main street, and her attention to historical details about her adopted neighborhood, but Abalos’ personal connection to the area that we toured (um, South Queen West?) added something special to “Lola Lita“. As the tour progressed, he spoke about how his family had immigrated to Toronto in the 70’s, and how his grandmother had lived within an eight block radius for over 30 years. The story of the neighborhood became the story of his family, specifically his grandmother, and how she raised and supported her family, even to recent times, as Abalos became “roomies” with her while attending Ryerson Theatre School.

At the conclusion of the tour, we met the woman we’d spent the last hour hearing about, with no detail spared, and she was both modest and gracious in welcoming all these strangers to her front stoop.

Abalos is currently starring in “The Making of St. Jerome” at the Next Stage Festival, which is selling out and garnering rave reviews; while I have no doubt he is putting his considerable skills as a performer to good use, for his Summerwalk, he demonstrated that he was willing to invite total strangers into his personal life and that of his grandmother in hopes of instilling in them the love his family obviously has for their neighborhood, and each other.

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#6: The “running” sequence in “Nohayquiensepa

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L to R: Ravi Jain, Gina Jaimes, Carlos Gonzalez-Vio, and Beatriz Pizano in "Nohayquiensepa". Gonzalez-Vio, who seamlesly integrated into the mostly mute collective for this show, also impressed as the beast man Enkidu in "The Epic of Gilgamesh". Photo by Trevor Schwellnus.

I had a pretty good idea of what to expect from many of the shows at Summerworks, but Aluna Theatre’s “No One Knows“, a “visual poem told through theatre and dance in tribute to the lost” (I THINK I have the translation more or less right from their poster), knocked me on my ass when I saw it. I’d heard next to nothing about the show, and it was a visual tour de force. The show utilized recorded audio, visual projection, video, and nearly every other audio/visual trick in the theatrical book, to tell a non-narrative story of how violence creates collateral damage that effects us even when it’s committed against strangers. Despite all the impressive technical effects, the performers were still integral to the production; there was very little spoken on stage, but there was plenty of collaborative dance and movement work.

The most entrancing staging involved a running sequence, with real-time cameras trained on the running on the spot actors; the images were then manipulated to project multiple images behind and beside them that swelled to immensity and swallowed them whole. Brilliant, mesmerizing stuff.

Aluna Theatre’s newest work, Beatriz Pizano’s “La Comunion“, opened January 12th at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, and runs to the end of the month; the 10 person collective includes Carlos Gonzalez-Vio (who also deserves a special Summerworks mention for his ardent portrayal of the beast man Eniku in Groundwater Production’s “Epic of Gilgamesh“), Rosa Laborde (who’ll be mentioned further down this list), and Sam Malkin (whose work in ‘09 is mentioned in the upcoming “Best Theatre” post).

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#5: Hannah Cheesman’s bathroom monologue at the Performance Gallery

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Hannah Cheesman in "German Lollipop". Photo by Ayngelina Brogan.

The Summerworks Performance Gallery at the Gladstone Hotel was once again both a welcome respite from the hurly burly of the main festival venues, and a chance to see all sorts of intriguing work, much of it interactive. Chris Stanton, who also delivered a bravura monologue in The Room’s “Red Machine: Part 2“, delighted at the Gallery as an immobile old man telling outlandish “stories on tape”, and Clinton Walker demonstrated the various comfort zones most people have when it comes to personal space in “The Distance Between Us“.

But the best of the Gallery performances had an established fourth wall, though the venue was certainly unorthodox; up to a dozen strangers at a time crammed into the second floor washroom to watch Hannah Cheesman perform a monologue in a bathtub and sitting on a toilet (lid down) in “German Lollipop“. She was mesmerizing as a soldier’s wife slowly driven mad by her husband, who insists, since his return from the front, that she smells like rotting flesh.

Unfortunately, Cheesman’s run of “German Lollipop” had to end early in the festival, as she was taking the show on the road -  to Columbia. Cheesman is just wrapping up a short run of “Guns n’ Roses” at the Toronto Centre of the Arts (her co-star Ben Sanders also impressed in Deus XM’s “Fear and Misery of The Third Reich” at Summerworks); she also stars in the Toronto premiere of playwright Hannah Moscovitch’s “In This World” in May at the Lorraine Kimsa Theatre for Young People.

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#4: Forest D’Urberville Lovers

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As I stated earlier, there were all sorts of great sets during the Summerworks Music Series, but this one was truly special. Forest City Lovers opened up the night, with Kat Burns and co. delivering a short but typically (for them) lovely set of string-heavy pop; The D’Urbervilles followed immediately with a minimum of tear-down, delivering their particular brand of punky goodness, but again, a very short set. Then, a whole lot of moving and set-up began, leaving the crowd perplexed; the sets had been awfully short, and weren’t they the only two bands on the bill? But it soon became apparent there was to be a second set featuring the two bands mashed up, and thankfully, it was recorded; watch for yourself.

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Neither band has been idle since last summer: D’Urbervilles frontman John O’Regan has a surprise video hit on his hands for his solo outing as Diamond Rings, and FCL have just recently released a lovely new video that will cheer you on a cold winter’s day.

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#3: “The Middle Place“’s rotating spotlight

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L to R: Antonio Cayonne, Akosua Amo-Adem, Kevin Walker, and Jessica Greenberg never met the interviewees they portrayed, saw the footage, or learned their real names, but they all did magnificent work in bringing their subject's stories to life.

The “recorded interviews turned into dramatic monologues” conceit has become a popular one in Toronto theatre over the past few years.  It’s a very sensible method of constructing a show for a fledgling theatre company that’s willing to put the legwork in to find interesting subjects and interview them; the actors get to show some range portraying multiple characters, the show may appeal to people based on the subject matter more than the resumes of the creators, and the company can do some real good by shining a light on the disenfranchised – if the material is handled sensitively.

Well, Project: Humanity’s “The Middle Place” delivered in spades on all that potential. The company, founded by Ryerson Theatre School alumni, has been actively involved in community outreach and social cause fundraising for over a decade now, and had produced shows for at risk youth in shelters and prisons (full disclosure: I’ve acted in some of these), and it was this work that inspired them to produce their first public production. They enlisted an experienced director (Alan Dilworth), an up-and-coming writer (Andrew Kushnir, who also serves as the company’s Creative Director), and assembled a gifted cast to bring the project to fruition. Experienced actor Paul Dunn (currently on-stage once again in the 3rd remount of “East of Berlin” at Tarragon Theatre), playing “the outsider” who interviews the young adults in the homeless shelter from offstage, helped ground the work, but it was the four young actors on stage who really pulled the difficult material off. In turns funny, heartbreaking, and unsettling, they gave us a sobering look at how the residents of the shelter were smart, engaging kids who had suffered great misfortune, and been forced to grow up too fast (or had never quite managed to grow up fully) due to their situations.

Since the show closed, Project: Humanity has begun preparations to tour the show to schools around the GTA, and hopefully this year, across Ontario.

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#2: “Impromptu Splendour“’s Naomi Snieckus offers Colin Mochrie a candy

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From Top to Bottom: Ron Pederson, Matt Baram, and Naomi Snieckus mess with all your favourite playwrights to devastatingly funny effect in "Impromptu Splendor". Photo by Skye Regan.

I find it tremendously difficult to pick just one moment out of an Impromptu Splendor show to highlight.

Firstly, since each show is completely improvised, that particular show will never happen again. It makes it difficult (or at least, makes me feel guilty) to single out a moment the majority of the audience of their run can think of as a touchstone; after all, only the audience that saw that specific show was privy to it.

Secondly, it’s hard for me personally. I was the first person to write about Impromptu Splendor on the internet, and I’ve seen so many of their shows now that I worry; have I come to expect the remarkable scenes they produce with astounding regularity as simply being par for the course? I’m never bored or jaded with the stellar work that Naomi Snickus, Ron Pederson, Matt Baram, and their many wonderful guests continue to produce; it does mean, I suppose, that I have to constantly remind myself of the utter alchemy the troupe produces every time they step onto the stage and write a new play “in the style of” a playwright, in the moment.

I guess if I had to pick just one favourite moment out of the several shows I saw of their Summerworks run, it’d be when Naomi Snieckus offered a candy to guest star Colin Mochrie (pinch hitting for an absent Matt Baram) in their homage to Harold Pinter. As he popped it in his mouth, Snieckus informed him they were terrible, and he spit it right out onto the table. A simple sight gag, but emblematic of the incredible comic timing and choices required to lead up to the payoff.

At the conclusion of their Summerworks run, Impromptu Splendor won the RBC Arts Professional Award for their clever marketing campaign, including a nightly “opening & closing” party for their shows at the nearby Taro Grill, terrific photographic documentation of their work by Skye Regan, and a series of YouTube videos edited by Baram (his latest, advertising Monday night’s return to Theatre Passe Muraille, is below). Since then, they’ve also won the 2009 Canadian Comedy Award for Best Improv Troupe. I think it’s fair to say that I can no longer gripe that their work isn’t fully appreciated by either the theatre or comedy communities.

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#1: Melissa-Jane Shaw replaces Ingrid Rae Doucet mid-way through “Melancholy Play

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The cast of "Melancholy Play". Top, L to R: Anna Hardwick, Pamela Rhae Ferguson, Cheryl Ockrant, & Ennis Esmer. Bottom, L to R: Salvatore Antonio, Melissa Jane Shaw, & Ingrid Rae Doucet. Photo by Michelle Bailey.

I’m going to quote myself here, in speaking in general about Project Undertow’s “Melancholy Play“:

“…my favourite show to date at the festival, “Melancholy Play“, is anything but. Ingrid Rae Doucet stars as a blonde depressive who finds that her maudlin demeanor causes people of both sexes and all walks of life to fall head over heels for her – until she overcomes her depression and realizes her new-found cheerfulness has the opposite effect. This absurd and delightful farce boasts a surfeit of comedic talent, and director Rosa Laborde, herself a Dora and Governor General Award nominated playwright, makes an assured directorial debut. While the script itself is by American playwright Sarah Ruhl, it’s an outstanding example of a independent Canadian company (Project Undertow) demonstrating great prowess in all aspects of theatrical production; the performances, live music, sets, and costumes are all note perfect.”

What I can now add, since the production has come and gone, and it’s no longer a spoiler: the most brilliant bit of staging and casting for the show was having Melissa Jane Shaw step in as Tilly after her transformation from depressive to sunny optimist. Where Doucet had excelled at milking Tilly’s bewitching woefulness for comedic effect, so did Shaw hit the high notes of unbridled sunniness and cheerleader enthusiasm. By changing the actors, director Laborde made it crystal clear that none of the people in Tilly’s life can see her as the same person after her personality change. It was a perfect, crowning touch to a show that was already hitting all the right notes.

Shaw’s just wrapping up a turn as the titular character in Seventh Stage Production’s “The Red Queen Effect” at The Next Stage Festival (she’s also the Artistic Producer for Seventh Stage), and that show looks to be a lock as my favourite of that festival, as well…

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Part 1 is over and done with – upcoming is my faves of the Fringe

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Top 9 of ‘09: Best Albums http://www.gracingthestage.ca/?p=3862 http://www.gracingthestage.ca/?p=3862#comments Tue, 05 Jan 2010 00:06:08 +0000 Steve http://www.gracingthestage.ca/?p=3862 It’s twenty-ten! Last year, my own resolutions revolved mostly around getting this website off the ground and running. This year, given my lack of posts in November and December (a hiatus for a few weeks became habit-forming), I’m resolving to more consistently post the weekly update, and try and institute some subtle changes to the site, among them an integrated GTS Twitter account, a sidebar tweak (some third party ads should crop up, but I promise they won’t be intrusive), a monthly music playlist, and an easier interface for posted MP3s.

Before we get to new business, however, I have a series of end of year recap posts planned for music, theatre, and comedy. As befitting the year that just ended, they’re kept to 9 (though some, like this post, will also have the same number of “honourable mentions”). First up on deck:

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Best Albums (LPs) of 2009

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#9. Josh Reichmann Oracle BandCrazy Power

Josh Reichmann Oracle Band - Crazy Power

Best track: “Fractal Web

If Toronto had an equivalent to NYC’s The Strokes in the 2000s, both in sound and local buzz, it was Tangiers; the rock and post-punk band garnered considerable local acclaim for their 3 strong albums and energetic live shows from 2002-2005. When Tangiers dissolved in 2006, lead singer Reichmann experimented with a few different projects and sounds, releasing a debut solo album in ‘07 under the moniker Jewish Legend. The album showed a lot of promise, though it was a little too out there and dark to appeal to a wide segment of T.O.’s music fans. Crazy Power, however, while still venturing into all sorts of odd musical genres, is poppy and upbeat where previous effort Telepathy Now! was obtuse and challenging (continuing the Strokes comparison, their lead singer Julian Casablancas almost made this list for his own solo album this year, but we’re getting off topic). Anyway, Reichmann seems to have really hit his stride, and the album evokes all sorts of soul and funk comparisons, most notably to Prince. Songs like “Shivering Black” and “Sea at Night” are full of falsetto flourishes, calypso beats, and all manner of interesting instrumentation. Live, the Oracle Band is still a bit chaotic, but that’s A-OK by me – my favourite album of last year, Miracle Fortress’s Five Roses, took a while to bring to life on stage, too.

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#8. Dan ManganNice, Nice, Very Nice

Dan Mangan - Nice, Nice, Very Nice

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Best Track: “Robots

Mangan’s already received a lot of praise for his finely crafted debut album this year, including being awarded the XM Verge Award for Artist of the Year (an award that came as a shock to many who expected the award would go to a harder edged rock band), and Two CBC Radio 3 Bucky Awards, for Best Vocals and Best Song of the year. He ended the year on a high note, too, being named Best New Artist of the Year by iTunes Canada. Word spread quickly amongst the tight knit Canadian blogosphere and music community in 2009 about his exceptional stage craft skills and approachable persona; I’ve been at several live shows and in-stores, and Mangan always puts an effort in to turn new fans into friends after his set is over. While “N, N, VN” isn’t a re-invention of the wheel, it’s a album of exceptionally pleasant and straight-forward singer-songwriter tunes, and Mangan displays wit and charm throughout, including having had a hand in producing the terrific 80’s gang fight homage video for lead single “Robots”.

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For the rest of the list, including a cornucopia of videos and MP3s, click “more”…

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7. Evening Hymns - Spirit Guides

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Evening Hymns - Spirit Guide

Best Track: “Broken Rifle

Jonas Bonnetta, like Josh Reichmann, laid one musical identity aside for a new one this year; but in Bonnetta’s case, he dropped his own name in favour of Evening Hymns, a project that recruited over 17 musicians to enhance his own strumming and vocals (many of them label mates from the Out of This Spark collective), including members of Forest City Lovers, Ohbijou, The Wooden Sky, and The D’Urbervilles. His previous work was quiet and soulful, and while there’s still plenty of that sort of melancholy beauty on this new project, it’s the rocking numbers and complex orchestrations that elevate this album to best-of territory. Influential Canuck music blog Herohill posted a glowing review of Spirit Guides earlier this year (including another standout album track, “Dead Deer“), lamenting the fact that there were so few posts about Bonnetta’s music on-line; I think this album will correct that oversight soon enough. Below, you’ll find a full set from Jonas, courtesy of Late Night In the Bedroom; I would particularly recommend the epic set closer “Mountain Song” from 16:50-27:00, and the sparse version of “Dead Deer” from 6:00-11:00.

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6. Yeah Yeah YeahsIt’s Blitz!

Yeah Yeah Yeahs - It's Blitz!

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Best Track: “Zero

While Karen O, Nick Zinner, and Brian Chase weren’t exactly accused of suffering from the “sophomore slump” when 2007’s Show Your Bones dropped, the reaction was lukewarm in comparison to the frenzy their 2003 debut album Fever to Tell generated. So many critics can be forgiven for insinuating that It’s Blitz! is a “return to form” for the NYC art punk trio. Blitz is still very obviously a YYYs album; Nick still gets the guitar licks in, and Karen still employs a wide variety of coos and growls in her inimitable delivery. But the dance floor influence that’s crept in (very much evident in tunes like “Soft Shock” and “Dragon Queen”) is a strong step forward for YYYs and their sound, and it translates well on stage, too; when I saw them at Bluesfest in Ottawa, the crowd was too busy writhing and screaming along with Karen to all the new tunes to bother to shout out requests for “the old tunes”. Here they are in their Letterman appearance, where Karen reduces Paul Shaffer to a simpering fanboy by the end of their performance.

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5. The BalconiesS/T

The Balconies - The Balconies

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Best Track: “Serious Bedtime

The last band to make the cut, and by just a couple of days, too; I finally got my hands on this little pop gem when it was gifted to me on Boxing Day (my birthday) by Ottawa DJ James at CHUO, and fell instantly in love. I’d heard people big-up-ing The Balconies for a while now, like T.O. blogger Historyjen, and they’d ranked in the top ten on I(Heart)Music’s Best Bands in Canada poll, but I’d only heard a couple of tracks (all of which were good). This whole album is chockful of potential rock-pop singles (“Lulu“, “Battle Royale“, “Elephant Lamp“), and picking just one song to represent the band was harder for this album than most on this list; I eventually settled on “Serious Bedtime” mostly because it features an almost equal “division of labour” in vocals between Jacquie Neville (Guitar), Stephen Neville (Bass), and Liam Jaeger (Drums). Expect to hear a lot more buzz about this band in 2010 and beyond; this is a remarkably self-assured debut album.
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4. Real EstateS/T

Real Estate - Real Estate

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Best Track: “Beach Comber

T.O. indie scene photog extraordinaire BramptonBoi (Garry Tsaconas) gets the credit for turning me onto these guys back in April, but it took a while before I was willing to share them with anyone else; the recordings available online were poor, and I wanted to wait until I could get my hands on something people wouldn’t dismiss as “amateur sounding”. Lo-fi beach bum jam outs by way of New Jersey, Real Estate as a band were slow growers in 2009; fuzzy sounding EPs and CD-Rs trickled out, than a 7 inch, until finally the band tied it all together, releasing a sublimely beautiful self-titled album that upped the recording quality, without losing any of the loose charm that had music bloggers enamoured of them. There’s echoes of Pavement in there (if you know me, you know that’s a proven way to worm into my musical heart), but also a fair bit of the Dead, too – check out this live video of “Suburban Beverage“, and especially how they kick it out in the last minute and a half. For a shorter video taste, below you’ll find “Fake Blues”, another single of worth.

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3. GirlsAlbum

Girls - Album

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Best Track: “Lust For Life

Pitchfork already did a pretty bang-up job of summarizing lead singer Christopher Owen’s remarkable life pre-Girls in their review of “Album”, so I ‘m not going to go into great detail about his childhood cult escape, or how he went from being a Texas “gutter punk” to a fixture of the San Fran alt scene here (though if you want to hear more from the remarkable candid Owens, you can read this interview). I’m also not going to try too hard to list out the many many influences that can be heard on Album, as the album jumps from sad sack but poppy Costello-like tune (“Laura”), to fuzzed out Beach Boys from hell (“Big Bad Mean Motherf**ker“), to epic and melancholy ballad (“Hellhole Ratrace“). Through it all, Owen’s voice and thematic throughline of love and loss hold it all together. If I had to pick a recent comparison, it’d be to Joel Gibbs of The Hidden Cameras (who released a terrific fifth album this year, BTW); Owens has that self same sweeping vision for his work, and judging from the official video of “Lust For Life” posted below (and even more so from the extremely NSFW version you can find HERE), he’s also, like Gibbs, managed to build up a large assortment of compatriots in San Fran’s alternative and gay scene to help him bring that vision to life.

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2. PhoenixWolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

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Best Track: “1901

You’d have had to try pretty hard to avoid hearing Phoenix in 2009, what with their songs being used for movie trailers for “Where the Wild Things Are” and “New York, I Love You“, in a Cadillac car commercial, and on every single late night show on television. There’s a very good reason for all this media exposure, though; while the Marseilles-based pop band has been at it for a decade now, and are considered contemporaries of Air and Daft Punk, they took their sweet time honing the perfect pop formula, and they seemed to have found that sweet spot with 2006’s  It’s Never Been Like That. With Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, they’ve ruthlessly and efficiently exploited the heck out of their formula. Even the slower tunes on WAP are catchy, and the album standouts – “Lisztomania“, “1901“, “Lasso” – all have you bopping your head along after a few seconds. I really don’t think you could find a more perfect pop album in 2009; after all, what else would make an internet meme subverting all the Brat Pack classic movie music moments so successful? Or, as demonstrated below, how many other bands could strip their song down to such bare essentials and gather a crowd so quickly (including a honeymooning couple on their way to see the Eiffel Tower) as the boys do in the Take Away Show performance below?

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1. Think About LifeFamily

Think About Life - Family

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Best Track: “Having My Baby

For me, these guys had it sewn up midway through the year. The fact that my favourite artist of 2008, Graham Van Pelt (Miracle Fortress) was involved had me predisposed towards them before even hearing the tunes. But even before I got a chance to listen to Family, I saw them live, and … good Lord. You know how at most concerts (in Toronto, at least), 20% of the crowd is up front getting sweaty and wild, and the other 80% stands and watches, enjoying themselves, but passively observing? Well, TAL inverts that formula. People LOSE IT at TAL shows. “If the album is half as good as the live show”, I remember thinking, “this could be the album of the year”. Well, it is, and it is. As with Phoenix, even the slow songs on the album (“Like “The Veldt”) get you grooving, and the upbeat ones, like “Young Hearts”… well, see for yourself (gets going at the 25 second mark).  The beats that Graham (guitar, keyboards) and drummer Greg Napier come up with seem to plug directly into most people’s pleasure centres. Add in the incredible energy and enthusiasm of frontman Martin Cesar, and recent addition Caila Thompson-Hannant as a hypewoman, back-up vocalist, and bassist, and you have a potent mix to get the party started. But don’t take my word for it; watch the video below, a collage of video shot this summer at the Summerworks Music Series. Yes, they are that good, and yes, the album is that good, too…

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9 Honourable Mentions


- Great BloomersSpeak of Trouble


Best Track: “This Ain’t You

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- White RabbitsIt’s Frightening


Best Track: “They Done Wrong – We Done Wrong

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- St. VincentActor


Best Track: “Actor Out of Work

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- Handsome FursFace Control


Best Track: “I’m Confused

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- Timber Timbre - S/T


Best Song: “Lay Down in the Tall Grass

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- Gentleman RegJet Black


Best Track: “You Can’t Get It Back

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- Neko CaseMiddle Cyclone


Best Track: “People Got a Lotta Nerve

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- Dirty Projectors - Bitte Orca


Best Track: “Cannibal Resource

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- Fanfarlo - Reservoir


Best Track: “Luna

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Whew! That’s it for albums. I’ll be doing a Top 9 Singles post eventually, as well, so if there’s an artist you felt should have been on this, they might just be “singled” out later. Up next: Best Summerworks Shows of ‘09

(Oh, and one last vid – here’s Julian Casablancas…)

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Weekly Update 291 (Oct. 16th – Oct. 23rd, 2009) http://www.gracingthestage.ca/?p=3770 http://www.gracingthestage.ca/?p=3770#comments Mon, 19 Oct 2009 05:58:44 +0000 Steve http://www.gracingthestage.ca/?p=3770 In Music,

All ages music series ALL CAPS and Wavelength collaborate on a fundraiser for Toronto Islands arts studio Gibraltar Arts Gallery, with heavy hitters on the Saturday all day on the island showcase like Brain Borchedt (Holy Fuck), Great Bloomers, and We Take Lovers. Later that night, back on the mainland, are second night shows by both Cuff the Duke and Shout Out Out Out Out, as well as a set by the Phonemes at the Tranzac Club.

Sunday evening, veteran Japanese gal rock n’ rollers Shonen Knife play the ‘Shoe; Monday, there’s a probably-impossible-to-get-into show by Sloan at the Dakota Tavern; and there’s new album releases by Carolyn Mark & NQ Arbuckle on Thursday (also at the Dakota), and Everything All the Time on Friday at the Drake, in association with ace concert series No Shame.

(Kidstreet play the Robots //// Us dance party this Thursday at Wrongbar, with headliners OPOPO. For Film, Comedy, Theatre, and the week’s picks, you know what to do – click that “more” link…)


In Film,

Toronto’s niche festival season continues, with specialized fare from The Moving Image Film Festival, Imaginative Film and Media Festival, The Snowboard Canada Film Festival, the Macedonian Film Fest, Planet in Focus, Toronto Israel Film Festival, and the Est(onian)Docs Film Festival (really?), all taking place over the next weekend and beyond. The one that really sticks out and seems to promise inordinate amounts of sleazy fun, though, is Darryl’s Hard Liquor and Porn Festival on Saturday night at the Bloor Cinema. The program contains animation, shorts, and a topless food fight film (go ahead, use your imagination).

The Bloor Cinema is also playing host on Monday to a mis-matched pairing of two of the Coen Brother’s finer films, dramatic gangster period piece “Miller’s Crossing“, and trippy stoner comedy “The Big Lebowski“, in order to capitalize on the release of their new film that’s garnering stellar reviews, “A Serious Man“. Also opening this wekend is auteur Spike Jones‘ eagerly awaited adaptation of Maurice Sendak’s beloved children’s book “Where the Wild Things Are“, and comedian Chris Rock’s documentary about the black hair care industry, “Good Hair“.

In Comedy,

The new cast of Ghost Jail Theatre debuts this Sunday at Clinton's in their Season 3 opener.

The new cast of Ghost Jail Theatre debuts this Sunday at Clinton's in their Season 3 opener. From left to right:Kayla Lorette, Tim Daugulis, Jess Grant, Oliver Georgiou, Andrea Del Campo, Stephanie Kaliner, and Robbie Beniuk.

Theatrical improv company Ghost Jail Theatre relaunches its third season this Sunday, with 5 new members; youthful (but comedically experienced) GJ “vets” Tim Daugulis and Kayla Lorette anchor the new line-up. I’m sure glad to see Ghost Jail’s clever brand of long-form improv returning, though it means Sundays are once again one of the most jammed nights for comedy in Toronto, what with Laugh Sabbath (this week featuring “The Loner Show“, next week, special guest performer Paul F. Tompkins) and Sunday Night Live continuing to pump out quality sketch work (Bi-monthly Sunday improv interview show “Monkey Toast” creator David Shore has also launched a “Panel Show” format on Mondays at Comedy Bar).

There’s a number of shows this week that also skirt the line between theatre and comedy, like the variety showcase Lunacy Cabaret on Saturday night, and alternative lecture series Trampoline Hall (in its first edition at The Garrison) and “Awkward Show and Tell” (returning to the Victory Cafe); stand-up comic Deborah Digiovanni, recently crowned as Canada’s Best Female Comic” by the Canadian Comedy Awards, has a two night stand uptown at the Toronto Centre for the Arts, with openers Laurie Elliott, and Lupe(character actor Melissa D’Agostino’s fiery archetype alter ego); and sketch duo Punch Drysdale (Norm Souza and Cole Osbourne) have a two set special next Friday at Comedy Bar, the first set of which will be done tee-totalling, the second with a serious drink-on (these guys suffer for their art, make no mistake).

In Theatre,

The boys of "BASH'd" (Chris Craddock & Nathan Cuckow) are back in town, at Theatre Passe Muraille; Next Friday night, Craddock will be joining Impromptu Splendor in an homage to Brad Fraser (whose latest, "True Love Lies", is up the street at the Factory Theatre).

The boys of "BASH'd" (Chris Craddock & Nathan Cuckow) are back in town, at Theatre Passe Muraille. After his show next Friday, Craddock will guest with Impromptu Splendor, in a tribute to Brad Fraser (whose latest, "True Love Lies", is down the street at Factory Theatre).

It’s your last chance this Saturday to catch several independent theatre works; two of them, Falen Johnson’s”Salt Baby“, and Daniel Karasik’s “The Crossing Guard“, are wrapping up their premiere runs (Theatre Garguantua’s remount of their 2008 multi-disciplinary show, “Fibber“, also wraps up this weekend).

Another remount, “BASH’D“, the “gay hip-hop opera”, re-opened this past week at Theatre Passe Muraille; after spending quite a bit of time running off-Broadway and elsewhere, the phenomenally popular Fringe hit returns to Toronto freshly man-handled (fun fact: Toronto was just picked as the host of World Pride 2014!)

Also continuing right now are Soulpepper’s “The Guardsman“, and “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?“, which has been extended (“Antigone” wraps this weekend, however); Brad Fraser’s swiftly-paced relationship comedy, “True Love Lies“, is still running at Factory Theatre, as is the recession clown piece “Spent“; and the nerdcore comedy “Godzilla on Sundays” continues at Bread and Circus.

Bread and Circus is also playing host next weekend to performances associated with the FOOL (Festival of Oral Literature) festival, curated in part by Red Letter writer Lisa Pijuan-Nomura; the fest also plays from Thursday onwards at several residential venues and the Artscape Wychwood Barn, and features local performance artists like Chris Gibbs, Evalyn Parry, and Ginette Mohr.

Other one-night or short run shows include Sunday’s Thistle Project theatre fundraiser with Impromptu Splendor, a free matinee “behind the scenes” with Peggy Baker Dance Projects (also Sunday at TPM), a reading of “Uncle Vanya” by ARC at Tarragon on Wednesday, and “Yoga Cannibal“, a “playful and cutting look at the consumption of culture in the quest for spiritual fulfillment”.

Finally, pay no attention whatsoever to the sloppily written and unimaginative review by Richard Ouzounian, whose knowledge of recent and innovative  Toronto theatre is woefully incomplete; Theatrefront’s “The Mill“, as a series, is a fascinating examination of horror genres and Canadian identity over its four parts. I saw Parts 2-4 in workshop last fall; Part 1, “We Are Brody“, and Part 2, “The Huron Bride“, run in rep until next Saturday at the Young Centre, and boast a talented cast, a superb and atmospheric set, and two celebrated Canadian playwrights, one of whom, Hannah Moscovitch, was just nominated for a Governor-General’s Award.

Man, this photo freaks me out; a Preacher (Ryan Hollyman) is unaware of the presence (Holly Lewis) creeping down towards him in "The Mill, Part 1: Now We Are Brody".

Man, this photo freaks me out; a preacher (Ryan Hollyman) is unaware of what's creeping down towards him (that'd be Holly Lewis) in Theatrefront's "The Mill, Part 1: Now We Are Brody".

Steve’s Weekly Picks for Oct. 16th – Oct. 23rd, 2009:


FRIDAY Oct. 16th:  Two Hours Traffic in-store performance, @ Soundscapes, 5pm, FREE        / Dan Mangan in-store performance, @ Criminal Records, 6pm, FREE      / Spiral Beach in-store performance, @ Sonic Boom, 7 pm, FREE      / Salt Baby“, w/ James Cade, Paula Jean Prudat, Micheala Washburn, more, @ Theatre Passe Muraille, 8pm, PWYC /       Cuff the Duke, w/ Srata, Boys Who Say No, @ The Horseshoe Tavern, 9pm, $12.50       /        The Diableros EP release, w/ Planet Creature, DJs Shandy & Andy, more, @ The Boat, 10pm, $5      / Crapshoot!“, w/ Laura Burns, David Ackerman, Chloe Whitehorn, hosts The Elephants, more, @ Theatre Passe Muraille,  10pm, $1-$6        / Shout Out Out Out Out, w/ TMDP, @ Wrongbar, 10pm, $18.50 /       Spandex Effect, w/ Maylee & Pegwee Power, Circle Research, more, @ Supermarket, 10:30pm, $5-$8

Paula Jean Prudat stars as a woman who questions her First Nation ancestry due to her fair skin in Falen Johnston's playwrighting debut, "Salt Baby".

Paula Jean Prudat stars as a woman who questions her First Nation roots due to her fair skin in Falen Johnston's playwrighting debut, "Salt Baby"; it wraps up this Saturday at Theatre Passe Muraille.

SATURDAY Oct. 17th Aft.: Four at the Winch” closing day, w/ Simone Orlando, Josh Beamer, Natasha Torres-Garner, Robert Kingsbury, @ The Winchester Theastre, 2pm, PWYC      /      “The Crossing Guard” closing day, w/Gary Reineke, Monica Dottor, & Daniel Karasik, @ Tarragon Theatre (Upstairs Studio), 2:30pm, $10-$15       /       ALL CAPS! Island Show, w/ Brain Borchedt, Great Bloomers, We Take Lovers, more, @ Gibraltar Arts Gallery (Ward’s Island), 3pm-10pm, PWYC

SATURDAY Oct. 17th Eve: Moving Image Film Festival: “The Devil’s Tail“, @ The Annex Live (296 Brunswick Ave.) , 1pm, $10       / Fibber” closing show, w/ Madeleine Donahue, Michael Spence, Kat Sandler, more, @ The Theatre Centre, 8pm, $22 / 7 Minutes in Heaven Present… Harvest Fair!“, w/ Inessa Frantowski, Garett Jaimison, Shefi Archer, more, @ Comedy bar, 8pm, $10         /Lunacy Cabaret“, @ The Centre of gravity, 8:30pm, $12-$15        /       “Darryl’s Hard Liquor and Porn Festival“, @ The Bloor Cinema, 9:30pm, $20 /     The Phonemes, w/ Lisa Bozikovic, Liz Forsberg, @ The Tranzac Club, 10 pm, PWYC      /  Shout Out Out Out Out, w/ TMDP, @ Wrongbar, 10pm, $18.50

SUNDAY Oct. 18h Aft.:Spent“, w/ Ravi Jain, Adam Paolozza, @ The Factory Theatre, 2:30pm, PWYC         /     “Inside The Art”, w/ Peggy Baker Dance Projects, @ Theatre Passe Muraille, 4pm, FREE

SUNDAY Oct. 18th Eve: Ghost Jail Theatre” Season 3 opener, w/ Tim Daugulis, Kayla Lorette, Scott Montgomery, more, @ Clinton’s, 7:30pm, $5-$6      /      “Impromptu SplendorThistle Project fundraiser, w/ Naomi Matt Baram, Naomi Snickus, Ron Pederson, host Christine Horne, more, @ Theatre Passe Muraille, 8pm, $25      /        Shonen Knife, w/ Modern Superstitions, @ The Horseshoe Tavern, 10pm, $15.50

MONDAY Oct. 19th: Coen Brothers x 2: “Miller’s Crossing” (7pm) & “The Big Lebowski” (9:20pm), @ The Bloor Cinema, $6       / The Turn of the Screw”, w/ Christine Horne & Clinton Walker, @ Campbell House (160 Queen St. W.) , 8:30pm, $15         /       Sloan & Friends, @ The Dakota Tavern, 8 pm, $30 (obviously, you should line-up RIDICULOUSLY early)       /      “The Panel Show“, w/ Paul Constable, Km Parlee, Brian Froud, host David Shore, and more, @ Comedy Bar, 9pm, $5

Everything All the Time release their new self-titled EP "in concert" with No Shame this Friday at the Drake Hotel Underground (photo by Laurie Kang).

Everything All the Time release their new self-titled EP "in concert" with No Shame this Friday at the Drake Hotel Underground (photo by Laurie Kang).

TUESDAY Oct. 20th: Dead Man’s Bones, w/ Mysterion The Mind Reader,  @ The Opera House, 7pm, $15 (ALL AGES)      /       “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”, w/ Diana Donnelly, Diego Matamoros, Nancy Palk, more, @ The Young Centre, 7:30pm, $       / Awkward Show and Tell: Ex Friends and Roomates“, w/ host Danny Shapiro, @ The Victory Cafe, 8:30pm, FREE

WEDNESDAY Oct. 21st: ARC Theatre Presents “Uncle Vanya” reading, w/ Aviva Aromour-Ostroff, David Ferry, Janet Porter, more, @ Tarragon Theatre (Upstairs), 7:30pm, PWYC / The Mill, Part 2: The Huron Bride“, w/ Maev Beaty, Richard Greenblatt, Michelle Montieth, more, @ The Young Centre (Tank House Theatre), 8pm, $20-$35 (rush tickets $5 for students/ arts workers) /      Deborah Digiovanni, w/ Laurie Elliott, host Ron Fromstein, more, @ The Tor0nto Centre for the Arts (Studio Theatre), 8pm, $15      /       Carolyn Mark & NQ Arbuckle CD release, @ The Dakota Tavern, 10pm, $15(?)

THURSDAY Oct. 22nd:Fool in the House“, w/ Lillian Allen, Calogero (Charly) Chiarelli, & Ginette Mohr, @ Arlington St. (must reserve via info@girlcancreate.com for address), 7:30pm, PWYC     / The Mill, Part 1: Now We Are Brody“, w/ Maev Beaty, Richard Greenblatt, Michelle Montieth, more, @ The Young Centre (Tank House Theatre), 8pm, $20-$35 (rush tickets $5 for students/ arts workers)     /     The Ravonettes, w/ The Black Angels @ Phoenix, $18.50     / Robots //// Us, w/ OPOPO, Kidstreet, Adolf Glitter, more, @ Wrongbar, 10pm, $7 or PWYC

FRIDAY Oct. 23rd:Punch Drysdale Presents… The Jekyl & Hyde Show!“, w/ Pat Thornton, Sarah Hillier, Andy Hull, more, @ Comedy Bar, 7pm, $5 (ALSO 10:30pm set) /      No Shame Presents… Everything All The Time EP Release, w/Whale Tooth, Mike Duguay, @ The Drake Hotel Underground, 8 pm, $7 /       Hysteria Festival: “Gaggle“, w/ Caitlin Morris-Cornfield, Julia Sweetland, Sigrid Velis, more, @ Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, 9pm, $15 (for festival evening)        /       John Tielli & Magali Meagher (Phonemes), @ The Holy Oak Cafe, 10pm, PWYC        /     “Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of  Splendour“, w/ Naomi Snieckus, Matt Baram, Ron Pederson, special guest Chris Craddock, @ Theatre Passe Muraille (Upstairs), 10:30pm, $10


Fine Print:

- All prices listed are advance ticket prices (where applicable). With many of these shows, especially music and theatre, if you show up at the door, you run the risk of being turned away due to a sell out.

- All times are start times, NOT door times. If you show up after the posted time, the show will likely already be underway.

- I typically cap the listed performers at three mentioned per show. The bill of bands / acts / performers is often much larger (particularly for comedy and theatre).

- Theatre and Comedy events are ALL AGES, unless otherwise noted. Music events are 19+, unless otherwise noted (FREE in-store and outdoor performances are ALL AGES, due to the lack of alcohol service).

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